It's been seven years since Alexander Moens and Martin Collacutt co-edited the Fraser Institute Publication "Immigration Policy and the Terrorist Threat in Canada and the United States." It's available for download in PDF format here. The constituent essays were presented in a related conference in June of 2007 still in the metaphorical shadows of the smoldering twin towers.
To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. To all the issues surrounding the terrorist threat in North America, the authors relentlessly, repetitively, point to only one solution: a significant reduction in immigration intake levels (this is a theme that Mr. Collacutt at least has been very consistent with over the years. I discussed this with him on Alberta Primetime a couple of years ago).
Their summary in a nutshell:
- "mass immigration is essentially incompatible with security" as screening is (inherently) inadequate (or problematic) and that large immigrant communities (quoting from Mao ...) as they serve as the sea within which terrorists "swim like fish".
- In particular, there are significant numbers of immigrants from countries that spawn terrorists, like Pakistan. As a result (you guessed it) the problem is immigration levels are too high and should be reduced.
- While in passing, there is reference to Sikh and Tamil terrorists and terrorist supporters still active in Canada.
- Given the high numbers of immigration, there has been a failure to integrate members of these communities such that the number of visible minority neighbourhoods has grown exponentially from 6 in 1981 to over 250 in 2001. These ethnic enclaves also serve potentially to incubate and shield terrorists. For example, high numbers of Muslims approve of (violent) extremism. The solution (of course) is the curtailment of immigration.
- The authors suggest that law enforcement is hamstrung by the Rule of Law and Due Process as significant delay occurred in the Khwaja matter. The solution appears to be to support additional intrusive legislation that will protect us from the terrorist threat.
Much has changed in 7 years obviating the thesis of the book. The reality is that since 2001, Muslim terrorism has claimed 33 lives in the United States. Compare that to 180,000 murders in the same time frame. Toddlers have killed more Americans than terrorists last year.
The title of the book itself is a non sequitur. There is no terrorist threat in Canada, other than that posed by so-called "lone wolves" (or, as Professor Zekulin calls them, "stray dogs") a threat against which there is little, if anything we can do.
If "mass immigration" means the number of immigrants that have come to Canada over the past two decades (a little less than 300,000/yr) the authors hope or expectation that this will be significantly reduced will likely fall on perhaps sympathetic but ultimately deaf ears of the present government. Significant number of Muslims have immigrated here, in particular, approximately 300,000 under this government alone.
The authors note Canada's "lax immigration policy" and point to Ahmed Ressam's entry to the United States (failing to note of course that it was the U.S. "lax immigration policy" under which all of the participants in 9/11 entered and remained in that country. Comparing Canada unfavourably in this regard is almost farcical. It was that country's "lax immigration policy" that issued visas to two of the hijackers 6 months after their attack and their own demise).
The authors concerns regarding the delays in the Khwaja trial were misplaced. He was convicted and sentenced in 2009, within a year of the trial commencing. His sentence was actually increased to life in prison at appeal. Subsequent events have undermined the premise that Canada's courts are ill equipped to deal with such crimes. In 2013 both Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser were charged and have now been convicted given their attempt to derail a passenger train. In Toronto, Jahanzeb Malik (a Permanent Resident of Canada) was detained this year and will be deported back to Pakistan under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act because there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that he planned to commit terrorist activities here. That's a standard far lower than the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt and lower even than the civil standard of balance of probabilities. No criminal charges and no trial. There is no appeal, merely judicial review. His lawyer is jumping up and down demanding a trial for obvious reasons. As a result, any insinuation that Canada's fights with one hand behind its back against terrorists is specious.
It is disquieting as to the views among Muslims regarding terrorism. The reality in 2015 however, is that support for extremism is low in Muslim countries and concern is high.
It's also disquieting that Canada's Sikh community continues to honour Talwinder Singh Parmar, the suspected mastermind behind the Air India bombing. I am in complete agreement with the authors regarding the pandering by politicians to any group that supports extremism, whether here or abroad. But as I've said, a lot has changed in the last 7 years. Both of those extremist groups are silent now.
The Islamist terror threat in Canada claimed two innocent lives last year. Both perpetrators were killed. The last three terrorist attacks and attempts in Canada involved converts to Islam. No change in immigration policy will prevent (self) radicalization within Canada and will not allow us to off-load them (born in Canada or citizens of this country) elsewhere. I've discussed this social contagion in the past, comparing it to a honey bee contagion, foul brood disease.
Prevention is not possible in an open and free society, a hope for a cure is pollyanna-ish thinking, and we need to concentrate our resources on reduction and mitigation, combined with isolation/incarceration or removal where possible. It's important to know that our law enforcement has, other than the "stray dogs" disrupted the designs of all terrorists in Canada and all of them have been brought to justice.
That's why it's important to keep things in perspective.
Keep calm and carry on.
The authors desire for more tools and powers for enforcement agencies has been answered by the present government with the announcement and imminent passage of Bill C-51. The bill likely has the support of the populace; and reflects the concerns of the public in the United States.
“Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"
Why is the government exaggerating this threat and minimizing our (more than) adequate laws and powers to combat it?
To justify the expansion of its intrusive powers, and that is something that Canadians should view with caution.