Efforts by the government to counter the radicalization of young Canadians by terror groups “lack coherence, according to the head of Canada’s public safety ministry.
Following a police operation, last week which resulted in the death of an Islamic State sympathizer who was reportedly planning to detonate a bomb in a Canadian urban center, Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness highlighted the Liberal’s “counter-radicalization” initiatives but said more needed to be done.
“We need to get really good at this – to preserve our diversity and pluralism as unique national strengths,” he said in a statement yesterday. “Some work in this field is already being done in Canada – at various universities and in cities like Montreal and Calgary, for example – but there’s little national coherence. Our goal is to begin fixing that this year.”
On August 10, operatives of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), acting on a tip from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), intercepted and killed a man in the quite community of Strathroy, Ont. The man, identified as Aaron Driver, was boarding a taxi bound for London, Ont. with a cargo of explosives. According to the RCMP, the 24-year-old Driver was a supporter of the Islamic States terror group and had planned to detonate the bomb in a Canadian urban centre. Driver was killed the gun bursts and explosion that ensued during the confrontation.
But there has been criticism that authorities had dropped the ball in this case.
Despite being known to have been in contact with IS jihadis in the United Kingdom, as well as a man killed during a terror attack in Texas, there was not enough evidence to lay criminal charges against Driver.
The Crown had sought a peace bond for Driver. On February, Driver agreed to the peace bond which barred him from having a mobile phone or computer but didn’t require him to wear an electronic tracking bracelet. Driver lived with his sister in Strathroy and he was required to report twice a month to the RCMP in London at the time of the incident.
“Particularly relevant to what happened in Strathroy, we have also budgeted for a new national office and centre of excellence for community outreach and counter radicalization.” Goodale said.
He said the government is committed to creating a “more responsive way” of dealing with no-fly list appeals, false positive reports of potential terrorist activities as well as to apply “more precise definitions to such things as propaganda” to ensure laws anti-terror laws comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The minister called for greater coordination with the international community and enhanced community-based support work in order to be able to “intervene with the right tools at the right time in the right way – all to head-off tragedies before they happen, as much as humanly possible.”
“We need to access the best global research. We need to develop more of our own. We need to generate and coordinate talent and expertise. We need to mobilize and support community-based outreach agencies,” he said. “We need to know how to identify those who could be vulnerable to insidious influences that draw certain people – especially young people – toward extremism leading to violence.”