Should white supremacist organizations be designated as terrorist groups?

This is a test r1

Dear ,

The white nationalist insurrection at the Capitol in the US on January 6, 2021 has prompted the Canadian government to designate the Proud Boys a as terrorist entity.

The BCCLA is strongly committed to confronting and ending white supremacy and all forms of hate that harm Indigenous, Black, Muslim, Jewish, and racialized communities. Violent hate threatens democratic and equality rights for all of us. But is part of the solution to designate white supremacist organizations as terrorist organizations?

Last week, after a motion to designate white supremacist groups as terrorists passed unanimously in Parliament, I spoke with Hasan Alam, a BCCLA board member and Islamophobia Hotline Community Liaison lawyer. We talked about what this designation means, what the impacts of post 9/11 security measures have been on Hasan and others, and whether a terrorist designation can meaningfully combat violent white supremacists. Read my interview with Hasan here.

We’ve been raising the alarm about Canada’s post 9/11... national security regime for over 20 years. This unchecked system subverts minimal standards of presumption of innocence, violates the right to due process, authorizes arrest and detention without charge or arrest simply by association, and often relies on secret evidence.

It targets and criminalizes Indigenous, Black, Muslim and immigrant communities – the very communities that white supremacists target with hate. In the aftermath of 9/11, Canada’s anti-terrorism laws expanded without check to target the Muslim community. For Hasan and many Muslims, the post 9/11 era has meant constant fear of surveillance, indefinite detention, or deportation to a foreign country to face torture.

As Hasan highlights, “the build up of Canada’s security regime over the past two decades has been fueled by a rhetoric of Islamophobia. Muslim bodies have literally been the testing grounds for these laws, even when their very constitutionality has been questioned in the highest courts of this country.”

For Hasan and all of us at the BCCLA, there are concerns about whether designating white supremacist organizations will simply reinforce the very national security regime that we and others have been challenging for so long. Law enforcement agencies already have the powers needed to dismantle far right groups.

So how can we effectively dismantle these organizations and end white supremacy? Hasan carves us a path forward. Read more here.


Harsha Walia (she/her/hers)

Executive Director

Donate now facebook twitter home


Login Form