Nov 17 2014
OTTAWA - Canada will have trouble fighting homegrown terrorism until law enforcement agencies do a better job sharing information, Conservative Sen. Vernon White, Ottawa’s former police chief, said Monday.
White told a senate committee police need some standards for sharing information on those with extremist tendencies.
“I am not certain that our future is bright,” Vernon said. “We need to be able to combat this.”
Several officials from the RCMP and Public Safety Canada briefed senators Monday on ways they are combating the kind of extremist activity that appears to have inspired Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo last month at Canada’s National War Memorial before being shot dead inside Canada’s Parliament Buildings.
Gary Robertson, a top official with Public Safety Canada, said 30 instructors are now in place working with local authorities to train police on how to recognize extremist behaviour, Robertson said “It’s important to educate all Canadians, including police, to keep an eye out when someone close to you has changed,” Robertson said. “We are also asking school counsellors, nurses and doctors to keep an eye out for a radical change in behaviour.”
Robertson told the senators it would be difficult to prevent Canadians from seeing material online that glorifies terrorism or extremist behaviours. While Internet service providers in Canada that host such material could be targeted, it would be hard to eliminate material stored on Internet servers outside the country.
Senators also heard that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is trying not to foster anti-Muslim stereotypes. CSIS assistant director Tom Venner said the agency was targeting individuals and not mosques.
He said it is critical to identify extremist behaviours everywhere in Canada from universities to the workplace.