How should we respond to the threat of terrorism?

The rise of ISIS has been raised in my Town Halls ever since fall 2014. There is no doubt that the brutal and sadistic acts of violence perpetrated by this group disturb and outrage us all. While focusing on ISIS, suddenly in January, it was Al-Qaeda behind the attacks in Paris. Meanwhile, Boko Haram continues its campaign of terror through Nigeria, now spilling over into neighbouring Niger.

No one can be less than horrified by these developments. How we respond as a nation is challenging.

Many of my constituents may find the Prime Minister’s response appropriate. I want to explain why I think he has made a mistake in declaring that Canada is at war.

We are not at war. A state of war involves nation states. These terrorist groups are not nations.  They are criminal organizations. Nor is terrorism new. The IRA waged a brutal assault on British soldiers, innocent Irish and murdered Lord Mountbatten.  More recently, the Tamil Tigers, Shining Path, FARC guerillas, and on and on have disrupted public security. Some have brought their activities to Canadian soil, most notably in 1985 in the Air India tragedy. A bomb planted on the flight in Montreal by Sikh extremists destroyed Air India flight 182, mid-air, killing 329 innocents, most of them Canadians.

Ever since September 11, 2001, Canadian governments have been even more concerned to track and intercept any possible terrorist plans. Since 9-11, Canada has spent over $12 billion on additional security measures.

The difficulty in which I find myself as your Member of Parliament is how to be very clear that we cannot ignore the threat of terrorism, but that neither should we exaggerate it and advance “solutions” that are dangerous for Canada.

How do we ensure that our response is sensible and protects Canadian security without sacrificing the rights and freedoms Canadians enjoy? This newsletter attempts to answer that critical question.

In this issue…

PDF: Spring 2015 Householder