The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has added two international neo-Nazi groups to Canada’s list of outlawed terrorist organizations as part of new measures to combat online hate, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced Wednesday.
Blood & Honour and Combat 18, which have a presence in Canada, are the first far-right extremism groups to be included on Ottawa’s terror list, Goodale said.
“This is an important step in Canada’s efforts to combat violent extremism in all forms,” Goodale said at a news conference in Regina, Saskatchewan.
“It will help facilitate the laying of terrorism charges against perpetrators and supporters of terrorism and it will also help block the flow of financial resources to terrorist groups when such groups use Canada’s financial system.”
According to the government list of terrorist entities, Blood & Honour (B&H) is an international neo-Nazi network whose ideology is derived from the National Socialist doctrine of Nazi Germany.
While B&H mostly deals with propaganda, notably by organizing concerts to galvanize supporters and recruit new ones, Combat 18 (C18) represents the armed wing of the movement and has conducted attacks, including bombings and murder, in North America and across Europe.
The number 18 in the group’s name stands for Adolf Hitler and corresponds to the numerical position of the letters “A” and “H” in the alphabet.
In January 2012, four B&H members in Tampa, Florida, were convicted of the 1998 murder of two homeless men who were killed because the group considered them “inferior,” according to the federal list.
In February 2012, members of B&H and C18 firebombed a building occupied mostly by Romani families, including children, in Aš, Czech Republic.
B&H was founded in the United Kingdom in 1987 and grew during the 1990s, establishing branches throughout Europe by the end of the decade.
B&H established a fully-fledged Canadian operation in 2010.
Three other groups linked to the Iranian regime — Al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB), Fatemiyoun Division (FD) and Harakat al-Sabireen (HaS) — also have been added to the list.
Goodale also announced $1 million in funding for a United Nations initiative called Tech Against Terrorism, which helps the global information technology industry tackle terrorist exploitation of its tech and supports smaller companies in protecting their users and reputations.
The money will be used to create a digital repository that will notify smaller social media and Internet companies when new terrorist content is detected to help them in quickly removing it, Goodale said.
With files from CBC News