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Fighting Terrorism at Home and Abroad

February 18, 2015

Fighting Terrorism at Home and Abroad

Earlier this year, the world was shocked by the terrorist attacks in France, which killed twelve people at the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, a French policewoman and four hostages at a Jewish grocery in Paris.

Within the last year there have been a number of similar attacks throughout Europe, Australasia and North America. Like the attacks last fall in St. Jean, Quebec and Ottawa, they all were perpetrated by radicalized jihadist individuals.

In late January, Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, the leader of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda, called for even more lone wolf attacks on countries like Canada, France, the US and the UK.

One of the most important responsibilities of the state is the security of its citizens. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms enshrines this responsibility, guaranteeing all of us, “life, liberty and the security of the person”.

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting Canadians, here and abroad. Canada’s counter-terrorism strategy, Building Resilience Against Terrorism, sets out basic principles that underpin the Government’s counter-terrorism activities.

Building resilience is the strategy’s core principle. The ultimate goal is to establish a Canada where violent extremist ideologies are not permitted to thrive, and where individuals and communities are resilient to a terrorist attack, should one occur.

The strategy also includes fighting terrorism and extremism abroad. Western powers learned a difficult lesson when extremism was allowed to flourish before 2001, under the Taliban in Afghanistan. Similarly, we ignore the extremism that exists in northern Iraq and Syria at our own peril.

That is why last October I voted, along with a majority of MPs, to send the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force into northern Iraq. The mission, in conjunction with our allies, consists of air strikes against the Islamic State for a period of up to six months. This mission comes up for renewal in early April, with a vote expected in the House of Commons.

However, more needs to be done to combat the terrorist threat. The Government is expected to introduce new legislation in the House of Commons that will provide additional powers and tools for security agencies to identify potential terror suspects, make arrests and detain persons considered a threat.

The Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris was not only a senseless act of violence, it was also an attack on one of our most cherished freedoms: The freedom of expression.

This freedom is why we will prevail. As English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote in 1839: “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Ultimately, the principles of the western Enlightenment which underpin modern liberal democracies, backed by the power and force of the state, will prevail over the anti-liberal nihilism and medievalism of the radical jihad movement. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at (866) 878-5556 or at michael.chong@parl.gc.ca

 


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