It should go without saying that the Government of Canada has a responsibility to keep Canadians safe from those who wish to do us harm. But this week, the Liberals have shown once again just how dangerous their thinking is when it comes to terrorism.
Recently, a spokesperson for Liberal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told CBC News that foreign terrorist travellers returning to Canada “require the appropriate disengagement and reintegration support.” This may be the single most concerning statement I have ever heard from the Trudeau Liberals. Instead of expressing concern for the safety of Canadians, the Liberals want to reintegrate ISIS fighters into Canadian society.
To offer one colourful example of the Liberals’ naivety, in September they gave $367,000 to one initiative which created podcasts and poetry as a means to counter radical beliefs. I find it troubling that this is among the “solutions” being offered by this Liberal government but one can hardly be surprised given that it was this same Liberal government that rewarded convicted terrorist Omar Khadr with an apology and $10.5 million.
It’s a disturbing fact that some Canadians leave our country to join ISIS, voluntarily choosing to fight against everything Canada stands for – to take up arms against Canadian troops and those of our allies. These radicalized individuals travel to war zones and commit heinous atrocities. They hold women and children hostage, sometimes sexually abusing and torturing them. They murder and execute innocent people. They impose their will through unspeakable violence.
And then some return to Canada.
Government estimates indicate that more than 200 Canadians have been terrorist travellers, going overseas to fight with ISIS. Around 60 of these individuals have gone and returned to Canada.
A workshop organized by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) assessed the threat of foreign fighters returning to Canada in late 2015. The workshop’s report cited analysts who said that returnees represent “a major and unparalleled threat to the West.” The document continued: “Even a small minority of returnees with combat experience and continued allegiance to ISIS represent a major threat.” Yet for the Liberals the main concern is helping these people return to our communities.
This is particularly strange given Minister Goodale’s comments over the weekend. He told a reporter that: “Once a person has been in a war zone, once they’ve been actively engaged in terrorist-related activities, the capacity to turn them around is pretty remote.” So to summarize, the Liberals want to reintegrate terrorist travellers into Canadian society by way of government programs (that you’ll be paying for), but they know it probably won’t work. This doesn’t sound like a government taking seriously its duty to keep Canadians safe.
Returning ISIS fighters are not victims. They chose to become cold-blooded killers dedicated to a murderous ideology. Once an individual has voluntarily joined ISIS, he has become a skilled, combat-capable fighter. He knows how to build bombs. We need to think critically about why individuals who despise our country would even want to reintegrate into our society. Even Public Safety Canada, in a 2016 report, indicated that returning terrorist travellers “may have skills, experience and relationships developed abroad that could be used to recruit or inspire individuals in Canada. They may also engage in terrorist financing, helping others to travel, or even planning attacks in Canada.”
Unbelievably, in response to a question from Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, Justin Trudeau said: “We recognize the return of even one individual may have serious national security implications.” If Justin Trudeau really believes that, instead of welcoming terrorists back to Canada and allowing them to rejoin Canadian society, the Liberals need to send a clear message that if these individuals return to Canada they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for their crimes against humanity. Anything less would represent a serious failure by this government to live up to its sacred duty to protect Canadians.
Conservatives are calling on the Liberal government to be transparent with Canadians. We’re calling on them to adopt the same tough policies that our closest allies have implemented when it comes to returning terrorist travellers. We’re speaking out to demand the Liberals provide integration supports for victims of ISIS like Yazidi genocide survivors. For Conservatives, law abiding Canadians always come first, not ISIS terrorists.