Terrorism operates with deadly regularity. In June 2016, a gunman who may have been inspired by extremist ideals, killed 49 and injured 53 in an Orlando night club. The same month, suicide bombers targeted Istanbul’s international airport and killed 45. In July, 85 were killed in Nice by an attacker in a truck.

Now, the Canadian government has released a report determining what threat terrorism presents to Canada.

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

“Canadians expect their government to take all necessary steps to keep them safe, while safeguarding our values, our rights and freedoms and the open, inclusive democratic character of our country,” said Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.  Fundamental to effective national security is a solid understanding among Canadians of the threats we face. That’s what this report provides, including the current National Terrorism Threat Level for Canada.”

Before delving into the report, Goodale makes an important clarification.

“It is a serious and unfortunate reality that terrorist groups, most notably the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), use violent extremist propaganda to encourage individuals to support their cause. This group is neither Islamic nor a state, and so will be referred to as Daesh (its Arabic acronym) in this Report.”

In addition to Daesh, the report looks closely at the activity of Al-Quaida, Jabhat al-Nusra and Hizballah to measure what sort of extremism the groups could inspire in Canada.

The report identifies three emerging issues in terrorism:

  • the role of technology in terrorism
  • the participation of women in terrorist activities
  • the use of chemical weapons by terrorist organizations

The principal threat to Canada remains the radicalization of Canadians.

As of August 2016, the threat to Canada is MEDIUM, “meaning a violent act of terrorism could occur in Canada”. The current threat will be updated online.

The full report is available here.

Says Goodale, “We want to prompt a rich, thorough, factual discussion of our overall national security framework, so we can shape it together – based on our clear-eyed safety requirements and the principles by which we wish to live our lives.”