The bulk of the online platforms used by the Canadian branches of the Proud Boys were gone on Monday, as the group faced mounting pressure in the wake of last week’s violence in the U.S. capital.
The Proud Boys Canada page, as well as those of the Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and three other regional chapters, were all on the social media platform Parler, which went offline.
The Edmonton Proud Boys website, which was used for recruitment, also went down over the weekend. The site had featured a membership application form for those seeking to join.
“There’s definitely a sense of panic,” said Elizabeth Simons, deputy director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
The Canadian Proud Boys had already split into factions last year, with some members forming the far-right nationalist Canada First, Simons told Global News.
But the storming of the U.S. Capitol building, and hints the Proud Boys could be added to Canada’s list of terrorist organizations, appeared to be causing more internal rifts, she said.
“It’s splintering them further. It’s causing a lot of them to reconsider whether they want to be part of it,” Simons said. “I suspect that we’re going to see more of that this week.”
The Canadian Proud Boys still have a Telegram channel, and some members post on the platform Gab. Telegram did not respond to requests for comment.
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Canada First also remains on Telegram, where it has been posting messages about the killing of Ashli Babbitt, who was killed by police Wednesday after breaching the U.S. Capitol.
The group did not respond to requests for comment.
The Proud Boys USA website remains online, and includes the pages of 15 purported Canadian chapters. Experts said there were actually eight chapters in Canada.
None of the chapters contacted by Global News responded to requests for comment.
Described in a Canadian military report on hate groups as an “extremist conservative group” that is “openly Islamophobic and misogynistic,” the Proud Boys were founded by Canadian Gavin McGinnes.
It was one of several prominent right-wing extremist groups that took part in last Wednesday’s attempt to stop the certification of President Donald Trump’s election loss.
Following the events in Washington, D.C., NDP leader Jagmeet Singh called on the government to designate the Proud Boys a terrorist group.
Only two right-wing extremist groups are currently on Canada’s list of terrorist entities.
The Edmonton Proud Boys website went offline late Sunday or early Monday. Its domain name was registered by the Toronto-based company Tucows. A Tucows spokesperson said the company had not taken action against the site.
Parler went offline after Amazon, Apple and Google all kicked it off their platforms. It had hosted seven Canadian Proud Boys groups: Proud Boys Canada and Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal chapters.
The company did not respond to a request for comment.
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