09 July 2015
Cited omission of major recommendations heard during testimony
Ottawa, July 9, 2015 – Yesterday the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence tabled its interim report on security threats facing Canada. The report, titled Countering the Terrorist Threat in Canada, examines terrorist recruitment, operations, financing, prosecutions and other aspects of security threats facing Canadians.
While all members of the committee share a belief in the importance of protecting Canadians against threats of terrorism, differences in how to approach this matter became clear. Despite great efforts to arrive at a consensus, the report ultimately contains the conclusions of the Conservative members, with Senate Liberals Mitchell, Day and Kenny dissenting.
The interim report contains 25 recommendations, covering a range of topics. While some of the recommendations begin to address the topic of security threats facing Canadians, the committee heard testimony that there are other serious issues that were not covered in the report.
“There is no doubt that Canada faces very real security threat from a range of actors,” said Senator Grant Mitchell. “We learned that the majority of the files our services deal with are from the extreme right. After that, there is a threat from Islamic radicalism, or from those looking to go abroad to fight for groups like IS. The remainder are from a variety of extremist individuals and groups.”
“The reasons I dissented from the report were carefully considered,” noted Senator Mitchell. “First of all, this was an interim report and the testimony we heard raised more questions than it provided answers. Some of the recommendations I support, in principle, although many of them raise questions that require further testimony to substantiate.”
Senator Mitchell went on to say that “the testimony we heard indicated that there are many serious issues that still need to be addressed, including: the need to increase funding for the RCMP, CSIS and other intelligence agencies that have faced budgetary cuts even as they transferred scarce resources to the fight against terrorism; the necessity for policing and community programs in the 'pre-criminal' space; and the need for more research to understand the various pathways to radicalization. In addition, we need to ensure that there are adequate review and oversight mechanisms for the 17 intelligence and enforcement agencies which deal with national security on a daily basis.”
Noting the reference to religious ideology in the document, Senator Mitchell said that “we need to be balanced. We are not going to arrest our way out of this problem and all Canadians are in this together.”
Senator Mitchell expressed his regrets that a consensus report was not reached. However, the process of the study and the discussion that will surround this report will further Canadians’ understanding of the problem and assist with our ability to deal with it properly.
For more information, please contact:
Kyle Johnston, Office of Senator Grant Mitchell
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