By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday October 10, 2014
Has Ottawa been too slow to take on radicalized Canadians?
Canada is sending fighter jets to take part in air strikes against Islamic State fighters abroad. That we know.
But closer to home, the Conservative government isn’t saying much about its promised comprehensive plan to deal with jihadist recruits who are either planning to go to, or are returning from, overseas conflicts.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney appeared before a Commons committee on Wednesday, flanked by the heads of the RCMP and CSIS, to discuss the government’s efforts to combat homegrown extremism.
What he had to say amounted to a recap of criminal legislation the government has already passed, measures aimed at punishing rather than preventing, the radicalization of Canadians.
It’s one thing for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau to ramble on about the “root causes” of terrorism, as he did with the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge after the Boston Marathon bombing, but no Conservative wants to be heard saying the same.
Instead, Blaney ran through a set of now well-worn numbers.
Among them, Canadian authorities are aware of at least 130 Canadians suspected of taking part in terrorism-related activities in places such as Syria, Iraq and Somalia. About 80 have returned to Canada.
“I can confirm for Canadians that, as we speak, the RCMP is investigating these individuals and will seek to put them behind bars where they belong,” Blaney solemnly informed the public safety committee.
But who these individuals are — what they have done, how they became radicalized — on those matters, Blaney offered little.
Instead, he repeated the pledge made last week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that additional measures are coming soon.
“Preventing violent extremism is an essential element of our response, and that is why some of the important work is being done in this regard as we speak.” (Source: CBC News)