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Trump's Proud Boys remark boosts far-right group's profile, including in Canada, experts say – CBC.ca

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s comment about the self-described “Western chauvinist” Proud Boys during Tuesday night’s raucous presidential debate was a significant profile boost to the organization, including its members in Canada, experts on extremist groups say.

The all-male organization was co-founded in 2016 by a Canadian, Gavin McInnes, and it’s known primarily for violent confrontations with anti-fascists. The Proud Boys group says it disavows racism, yet it has been accused of having ties to white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

“This is the best thing that could have happened to Proud Boys and the white supremacist movement in probably half a century,” Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said of Trump’s comments.

He said Trump’s words certainly engaged many Proud Boys supporters on social media.

And Farber has a specific message to Canadians who may be complacent and think this is an American problem: Don’t be too smug.

“They have a proud history here in Canada of defiance,” he said. “Some would argue that they’re actually more white nationalist here than they are in the States.”

History in Canada

In Canada, the group is smaller than in the U.S. and seems less likely to engage in violence than its U.S. counterpart, Farber said.

“Nonetheless, Canada is as susceptible, and the recruitment and radicalization of kids and young people is happening here as much as it’s happening in United States,” he said.

During Tuesday night’s debate, Trump was asked by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News if he would “be willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups” and demand that they “stand down” and not add to the violence that has erupted in places such as Portland, Ore., and Kenosha, Wis.

The president said, “Sure,” but did not offer any words of condemnation, instead pivoting to blame the violence on left-wing radicals such as Antifa supporters. When pushed by Wallace, Trump asked for the name of a group to condemn — and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden suggested Proud Boys.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said.

WATCH | ‘Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,’ Trump says in debate:

U.S. presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace asks U.S. President Donald Trump if he will condemn white supremacist groups involved in violent clashes over policing and racism in some U.S. cities. Trump replies, ‘Sure’ and asks ‘Who would you like me to condemn? Who? Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,’ referencing one of the groups involved. 1:30

Members of the organization responded enthusiastically on social media, welcoming Trump’s remarks and posting altered versions of the Proud Boys logo that included the words “Stand Back” and “Stand By.” Some, according to the Washington Post, saw a retail opportunity, pushing $30 shirts and $40 hoodies bearing the group’s logo and the words, “Proud Boys Standing By.”

McInnes, who is no longer a member of the organization, was simulcasting the debate on his website and seemed stunned when Trump made his comments.

“Did he say Proud Boys?” McInnes said.

“I control the Proud Boys, Donald,” he joked. “Do not stand down, do not stand back.”

By Wednesday afternoon, Trump attempted to clarify his remarks, saying he didn’t know who the Proud Boys were, “but whoever they are, they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work.”

Gavin McInnes, centre, pictured at a rally in Berkeley, Calif., in April 2017, is the Canadian co-founder of the far-right group Proud Boys. He is no longer a member of the group but was surprised when he heard U.S. President Donald Trump mention the Proud Boys during the presidential debate Tuesday. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

‘Three-step tango’

David Neiwert, author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump, told CBC’s The Current radio program that Trump has a long history of doing what he called the “three-step tango.”

Trump, he said, will make a statement that clearly encourages white nationalists and right-wing extremists. The next day, Trump walks it back. Then a few days later, he will go back to saying something favourable about them, Neiwert said.

 However, white nationalists take that first signal as being the important one, he said.

“The disavowals … they don’t take seriously. In fact, none of them believe it. They say, ‘Oh he’s just doing what he has to do to maintain his political viability.'”

LISTEN | An Edmonton researcher on hate-crimes discusses the Proud Boys’ presence in Canada:

Edmonton AM9:35The presence of hate groups in the province

Who are the proud boys? A hate group researcher will talk about their presence in Canada, and other extremist groups that have gained traction here in Alberta. 9:35

Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, Ont., agreed that despite Trump walking back comments regarding the Proud Boys, the damage has been done.

“It’s clearly been a boost to their egos and boost to their confidence,” she said. “This doesn’t [just] give the American movement a boost. It also gives the Canadian group a similar boost.”

Their activities are certainly more low key in Canada. Posters for the organization pop up in communities from time to time. Arguably the biggest Canadian headlines for the group came in 2017, when five members, four of them Canadian Forces personnel, disrupted a Mi’kmaw ceremony in Halifax.

‘What an exciting time to be alive’

Still, members linked to Canadian affiliates welcomed Trump’s words.

On Pander, a conservative social media website, Proud Boys Calgary posted a clip of Trump’s comments, adding: “What an exciting time to be alive.”

It’s a pretty comprehensive movement, and all the chapters are connected, Perry said. While it’s difficult to determine the size of the group’s membership in Canada, Perry said her research has found that it maintains a presence in every large city, with potentially a couple dozen members in each, and in several smaller communities, which may just include a few people.

But when talking to law enforcement across Canada about white nationalist organizations, she said, often the first group named is the Proud Boys.

The group has recently clashed with demonstrators in Portland during protests over policing and racism. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

The group has made headlines recently with its clashes with radical left-wing demonstrators, including from the antifa movement, at protests against police violence and racism in Portland.

“What they’re really out there for is to go bash heads,” Neiwert said. “They come pretty heavily armed. They come armoured, and they all come eager to fight.”

The group’s tenets, according to its website, include “closed borders,” “venerating the housewife,” “minimal government,” “pro free speech,” and “anti-racism.”

Perry said some of those positions, particularly those with wide appeal such as anti-racism, are just part of a strategy to lend credibility to the organization.

The Proud Boys have been booted off some social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And just this week, U.K.-based apparel maker Fred Perry said it was pulling from the U.S. and Canadian markets the Black/Yellow/Yellow twin-tipped shirt that the group has adopted. The shirt won’t return, Fred Perry said, “until we’re satisfied that its association with the Proud Boys has ended.”

Meanwhile, McInnes has denied the group has affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views.

McInnes sued the Southern Poverty Law Center last year, claiming it defamed him when it designated the Proud Boys as a “hate group.”

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – CKOM News Talk Sports

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

8:15 p.m.

Yukon says it has three new cases of COVID-19 with all the infections in Watson Lake.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley says this is the fourth incidence of infection in a rural community.

The cases bring the territory’s total number of infections to 20 people.

7:15 p.m.

B.C. is reporting 223 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, tipping the number of active infections over 2,000.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says in a statement contact tracing teams throughout B.C. are working around the clock.

But she says their success depends on everyone doing their part and taking a step back from social interactions.

There have been two new community outbreaks, one at a hot tub and spa manufacturing company and one at a food processing business in Langley.

Seventy-five people are in hospital, including 24 in intensive care, but no one else has died from the illness since the province’s last update.

2 p.m.

Quebec’s deputy premier has a dire warning for those living in the provincial capital and the neighbouring Chaudiere-Appalaches region amid a rising number of cases of COVID-19.

Genevieve Guilbault says people haven’t been following public health guidelines, resulting in a spike of cases in the two regions that could threaten the ability to provide medical treatment if it’s not brought under control.

Both regions were largely spared during the first wave, but Guilbault says in Chaudiere-Appalaches, there have been four times more cases and five times more deaths this time.

The Quebec City region holds the dubious distinction of having the highest number of active cases per 100,000 population in the province.

Guilbault was joined by the mayors of Levis and Quebec City, urging the population to limit their contacts and follow public health guidelines.

1:50 p.m.

A man in his 80s is the latest death linked to the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in a Manitoba care home.

There has been a total of 15 deaths at the Parkview Place care home in Winnipeg.

There were 163 new infections Friday, the vast majority in the capital city.

Winnipeg went weeks without any new infections over the summer, but case numbers have risen rapidly in the last two months.

A total of 33 cases have now also been connected to a poultry plant in Blumenort, southeast of Winnipeg, and the company says one employee has died.

Quebec-based company Exceldor, which owns the plant, says an investigation is ongoing to see whether the death of the 42-year-old man is related to his COVID-19 infection.

1:15 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 7484 from Toronto to Deer Lake on Oct. 12 to call 811 to arrange for a test.

Health officials say the request for testing is being made out of an abundance of caution.

The request stems from a new case of COVID-19 announced Thursday affecting a man between 20 and 39 years old who returned to the province from work in Alberta.

On Thursday, officials said the man was self-isolating and contact tracing was still underway.

1:05 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting two new cases of COVID-19.

Both are in the Campbellton region, which is one of two areas in the province that were hit by significant outbreaks of novel coronavirus two weeks ago.

Health officials say the two new cases involve a person 40 to 49 years old and a person between 70 and 79 — both are self-isolating.

There are currently 75 active cases in a province that has confirmed 324 overall cases, while 245 people have recovered and four people have died.

11:50 a.m.

Canada saw a record high number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed yesterday, with 2,788 new illnesses recorded.

In an Ottawa news conference, Canada’s chief public health officer is calling, again, for Canadians to reduce their contacts with other people, wear masks and follow hygiene protocols.

Dr. Theresa Tam says the longer we wait to curb the spread of COVID-19, the harder it will be to contain.

____

11:45 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is spending $214 million to produce potential COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

That includes a deal with Quebec’s Medicago and one with British Columbia’s Precision NanoSystems, both of which are working on potential vaccines.

Trudeau says the Medicago agreement includes the rights to buy up to 76 million doses of its vaccine, if it proves safe and effective, and funding for a factory in Quebec City to produce them.

The prime minister also says Canada has received “hundreds of thousands” of test kits from medical company Abbott to be distributed to the provinces and territories.

____

11:20 a.m.

Two more vaccine makers have asked Health Canada to study their product before it has completed clinical trials. 

Both Moderna and Pfizer applied to Health Canada on Oct. 12 to have their vaccine candidates studied by the regulator.

Health Canada is trying to review the vaccines at the same time they are undergoing final clinical tests so they can be approved for use here as quickly as possible. 

AstraZeneca applied for its vaccine candidate on Oct. 1.

All three vaccine candidates are among the ones Canada will get access to if they are deemed safe and effective.

____

11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 905 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Authorities said today four COVID-related deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.

Hospitalizations dropped by 13 compared with the prior day, for a total of 540.

The province has reported a total of 98,226 COVID-19 infections and 6,106 deaths linked to the virus.

___

11 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 826 new cases of COVID-19 today, and nine new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 292 cases are in Toronto, 186 in Peel Region, 87 in Ottawa, and 72 in York Region.

The province says it has conducted 40,019 tests since the last daily report, with another 35,436 being processed.

In total, 276 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 78 in intensive care.

___

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020. 

The Canadian Press

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – NEWS 1130 – News 1130

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 905 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Authorities said today four COVID-related deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.

Hospitalizations dropped by 13 compared with the prior day, for a total of 540.

The province has reported a total of 98,226 COVID-19 infections and 6,106 deaths linked to the virus.

___

11 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 826 new cases of COVID-19 today, and nine new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 292 cases are in Toronto, 186 in Peel Region, 87 in Ottawa, and 72 in York Region.

The province says it has conducted 40,019 tests since the last daily report, with another 35,436 being processed.

In total, 276 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 78 in intensive care.

___

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020. 

The Canadian Press

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – CityNews Toronto

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

11:20 a.m.

Two more vaccine makers have asked Health Canada to study their product before it has completed clinical trials. 

Both Moderna and Pfizer applied to Health Canada on Oct. 12 to have their vaccine candidates studied by the regulator.

Health Canada is trying to review the vaccines at the same time they are undergoing final clinical tests so they can be approved for use here as quickly as possible. 

AstraZeneca applied for its vaccine candidate on Oct. 1.

All three vaccine candidates are among the ones Canada will get access to if they are deemed safe and effective.

____

11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 905 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Authorities said today four COVID-related deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.

Hospitalizations dropped by 13 compared with the prior day, for a total of 540.

The province has reported a total of 98,226 COVID-19 infections and 6,106 deaths linked to the virus.

___

11 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 826 new cases of COVID-19 today, and nine new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 292 cases are in Toronto, 186 in Peel Region, 87 in Ottawa, and 72 in York Region.

The province says it has conducted 40,019 tests since the last daily report, with another 35,436 being processed.

In total, 276 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 78 in intensive care.

___

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020. 

The Canadian Press

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