"The international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and our Allies. That’s why our government committed the Canadian Armed Forces to the broad international coalition against the so-called Islamic State," Blaney said, stressing, "No Canadian government should ever stand on the side-lines while our Allies act to deny terrorists a safe haven – an international base – from which they would plot violence against us.
Blaney also announced on January 30 that legislation will be put before the Canadian parliament that will help authorities stop planned attacks, get threats off the streets, criminalize the promotion of terrorism and prevent terrorists from traveling and recruiting others.
The new national security legislation is expected to include a provision that draws a line between free expression and endorsing terrorism.
Highlighting the new bill in a speech to Conservatives on Sunday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it will protect Canadians from homegrown extremists by giving authorities new powers – including the ability to prosecute people for “the promotion of terrorism.” Such laws exist in Europe, but could be difficult to reconcile with the freedom of expression provisions in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Some of the details of the proposed legislation have already come to light. The Globe and Mail reported the new law would seek to lower the legal thresholds used for some preventive police powers, while expanding the criteria that would allow officials to blacklist people on the Canadian government’s “no-fly” list.
Ottawa is also expected to give government departments and agencies explicit authority to share private or confidential commercial information. The Globe and Mail reported sources said a government review of the attacks on home soil in October found problems that inhibit the free flow of useful information between departments and security agencies.
The changes would allow information submitted in passport applications and on the movement of items such as automatic weapons, GPS systems or controlled goods that could be used in terrorist attacks to be shared with Canadian security agencies.
The Canadian government is also planning a more robust campaign to thwart radicalization in young people. Last August, a public report on the terrorist threat to Canada revealed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is already developing a program to stop Canadians becoming radicalized by violent ideologies.
It remains to be seen whether Harper’s announcement will signal a continuation of the RCMP’s Countering Violent Extremism program, with closer involvement from Ottawa, or whether parliament proposes an entirely different campaign against radicalization.