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The FBI doesn’t consider the far-right Proud Boys an extremist group, and they never did: reports – National

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) does not consider far-right group the Proud Boys an extremist organization, contrary to what reports said last month.

Instead, the bureau only consider individuals within the group to be extremists, it said earlier this week.

WATCH: Proud Boys ‘mistake’ shouldn’t end their military careers: Admiral






Last month, The Guardian and other outlets reported that the FBI had designated the Proud Boys as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism.”

Their source was an August memo circulated by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in Vancouver, Wash.

That memo concerned the dismissal of a former sheriff’s office employee who was released from her position as a probationary deputy after a newspaper obtained a photo of her wearing “Proud Boy Girls Apparel.”

The memo went on to say that the Proud Boy Girls are “believed to be an affiliate group of women” who support their ideology.

READ MORE: Far-right Proud Boys and their Canadian founder Gavin McInnes booted off Facebook and Instagram

In a Tuesday briefing, Renn Cannon, FBI special agent in charge of the Portland division, said that memo evolved out of a briefing that it held with Clark County law enforcement about threats in the area, The Oregonian reported.

The FBI had been trying to “characterize the potential threat from individuals in that group,” but it never intended to label the organization as extremist, he added.

“I can see where the Clark County representatives came to that conclusion,” Cannon said.

“That was not our intention. That’s not what we do.”

The FBI had been briefing the sheriff’s office about threats from groups such as anarchists, militias and white supremacists, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

That briefing contained a slide about the Proud Boys, which was meant to warn people about how members of the group posed a potential for violence.

WATCH: Proud Boys: A look at the group who protested an Indigenous ceremony in Halifax






“There have been instances where self-identified Proud Boys have been violent,” Cannon said.

“We do not intend and we do not designate groups, especially broad national groups, as extremists.”

While the FBI may not consider them extremist, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) considers the Proud Boys as a hate group whose members are known to spread imagery and organize events surrounding white nationalism.

READ MORE: Three arrested in violent clashes after far-right Proud Boys speech in New York City 

The group was founded in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, the Canadian co-founder of Vice Media who last year was heavily criticized for making a video in which he listed the “10 things he hates the most about Jews.”

The Proud Boys describe themselves as a fraternal organization of “western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”

“Like Archie Bunker, we long for the days when ‘girls were girls and men were men,’” their website said.

Members have since been involved in violent incidents such as a fight with anti-fascist protesters that followed a McInnes speech in New York in October.

One of its members, Jason Kessler, helped organize a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. that featured members of the Ku Klux Klan as well as neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

One man drove a car into a group of counter protesters at the rally, killing a woman. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., was convicted of first-degree murder on Friday.

Kessler has been expelled from the Proud Boys, according to the SPLC.

WATCH: Canadian Armed Forces apologizes for appearance of members at Indigenous ceremony






The group has also been involved in actions in Canada, such as when members interrupted an Indigenous ceremony at a statue of Edward Cornwallis in Halifax last year.

Proud Boys members sang “God Save the Queen” to disrupt a ceremony that was meant to mourn atrocities perpetrated by Edward Cornwallis, who founded Halifax.

All five who disrupted the event turned out to be members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and all of them faced disciplinary action.

READ MORE: Who are the ‘Proud Boys’ who protested an Indigenous ceremony in Halifax?

More recently, the Proud Boys were kicked off Facebook and Instagram because of hate policies on the sites.

McInnes slammed the ban, saying it only happened in an effort to build up “hysteria” before November’s U.S. midterm elections.

McInnes later announced he was quitting the group, saying it would help alleviate the sentencing for Proud Boys members who were arrested following the fisticuffs in New York City.

“We are not an extremist group and we do not have ties with white nationalists,” McInnes affirmed in his resignation.

  • With files from Leslie Young and The Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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