Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has added to the federal government's list of terrorist entities the Three Percenters movement — an anti-government group with a known presence in Canada that was linked to a recent bomb plot in the U.S.
It's one of four organizations added today to the Criminal Code's list of terrorist entities in an attempt to prevent them from accessing financial support.
The Three Percenters — named after a contentious theory that only three per cent of Americans took up arms and served in George Washington's Colonial Army in the American Revolution against the British — say their main goals are to protect the right to bear arms, defend against an "overreaching government" and "push back against tyranny."
Canadian officials speaking on background said they've gathered enough evidence to add the group to the list.
In materials provided to journalists, the government cited the role played by two of the group's leaders in a 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — a plan which allegedly involved detonating explosives and executing public officials by hanging them on live television.
Canadian officials also cited a case of a Three Percenters member shooting and wounding five men at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Minnesota in 2015.
Three Percenters are known to have chapters in Canada.
Another ideologically motivated violent extremist group, Aryan Strikeforce, was added to the Criminal Code list of terrorist groups today.
The U.K-founded neo-Nazi group, which has contacts in Canada, aims to carry out violent activities to overthrow governments, start a race war and eradicate ethnic minorities, said officials.
Canada also has added to the list an American named James Mason. The government describes him as longtime neo-Nazi who has providing ideological and tactical instruction on how to operate terrorist groups,
An organization affiliated to the Islamic State in Democratic Republic of the Congo was also added to the list today.
The federal government created the terrorist list after the 9/11 attacks. The government says a group is added to the list when Canada's security and intelligence agencies, following an "extremely rigorous" probe, find "reasonable grounds to believe that an entity has knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity."
It is not necessarily a crime to be a member of these groups, but designating an organization as a terrorist entity can have serious criminal and financial consequences.
Banks can freeze the assets of listed terror groups and police can charge anyone who financially or materially supports such groups.
WATCH | Government announces four additions to the terrorist entities list
"Recent events should remove any doubts about the serious threat posed by ideologically motivated violent extremism," said Blair.
"Intolerance and hate have no place in our society and the government of Canada will continue to do all we can to keep Canadians safe from all threats, including terrorism and violent extremism."
IRGC not named
Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs, the party's public safety critic, said she supports the designations but asked why Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps hasn't been added to the list.
"It's shameful that it's been over three years and the Trudeau Liberals have failed to list the IRGC as a terrorist organization. The IRGC is not only the largest sponsor of terrorism in the world, it's responsible for the killing of 138 individuals with ties to Canada with the downing of flight PS752," she said.
Blair said the Criminal Code does not allow Canada to list a government or the armed forces of a government — but it has listed four of IRGC's proxy agencies.
There are now 77 terrorist entities listed under the Criminal Code — including the Proud Boys, who were added in February after the storming of Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 6.