Ex-ISIS fighters sharing their trauma could discourage others from joining

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, it would absolutely astonish me if the Canadian branches of the Five Eyes—CSIS, the RCMP, and so on—were not keeping anyone associated with overseas engagement in ISIS activities under very close watch and surveillance. However, there is an opportunity here that we ought to talk about, and that is that these are monstrous people in a monstrous organization.

I have heard the stories in the media of people who have left ISIS, have gotten away from ISIS, and have been so traumatized by it. We should get their voices out there to provide a counterbalance. The hon. member is quite right about the use of the Internet and social media to mislead and attract people to its horrific activities.

ISIS, right now, is in collapse, but we thought al Qaeda was gone, and then ISIS sprung up. These will remain threats. They are active. They quickly change names and leaders. We cannot ignore the threat of those people who have returned from those activities engaged with ISIS, on behalf of ISIS for its caliphate. What if, within those returning Canadians, there are the voices of those who could innoculate other youth from being mistakenly led to go overseas? Can the Government of Canada do more to find those voices of those who have returned?

Kevin Lamoureux – Winnipeg North

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. That is why, whether it was the Minister of Public Safety or the parliamentary secretary, they have picked up on that point.

It is not as if we have individuals coming back to Canada and they are lost among 36 million other people. Our security services agencies will continue to do the fine work they have done. It is one of the reasons, back in June, we launched the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence. This is an excellent program that was just introduced in June. We genuinely want to intervene to try to prevent young people from being attracted to that extreme position.

I believe in taking a proactive approach. When I say “I”, this is not something unique to the Government of Canada. Countries around the world have recognized that this is the type of thing we need to do. In the long term, that is how we are going to make our communities, not only at home but also abroad, safer places to be. None of us support the types of terrorist activities that take place and the horrific actions of these individuals.