Violent groups banned in other countries thrive here, new study says
Date: Thursday, July 03 2003
Topic: Canadian Politics
Canada has allowed terrorists to move here, fund raise for their activities and violently repress others from their home countries who oppose them, according to a new study on terrorism.
The study from the Toronto-based Mackenzie Institute says 15 out of 80 identified international terrorist groups have members or significant supporters in Canada.
Among the groups are Sikh separatists like those accused of being responsible for the 1985 Air India bombing, violent supporters of the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers and members of the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida, which perpetrated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on the United States.
Written by institute executive director John Thompson, the report is due to be released July 12. An advance copy was obtained by The Vancouver Sun.
It says that many of the groups have potential for violence in this country, though most Canadians who have been killed so far have not been the victims of attacks against third parties.
"The threat of substantial terrorist violence in Canada seems low, although it is by no means remote. So far, when terrorists have killed Canadians in the last 30 years, it has largely been as a result of attacks at other targets -- whether in Canada or abroad," says the report called Other Peoples' Wars says.
"Even the deadly Air India bombing was directed against one aircraft of India's national airlines. The 27 Canadians who have largely died in al-Qaida attacks have died because the citizens of other Western nations were the immediate targets."
Canada has been slow to list groups active here as terrorist organizations, the report says.
Just this month, the federal government finally outlawed the Babbar Khalsa -- the group alleged to be behind the Air India bombing -- "some 25 years after they murdered their first Canadian citizen on Canadian soil."
Both the Babbars and the just-banned International Sikh Youth Federation "have built temples and schools, run businesses and have been quite open in many of their activities for years," Thompson said.
And groups like the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are still not banned in Canada "despite being . . . described by the U.S. as a terrorist organization and being included on the UN Security Council's list," his report says.
"Instead of applying the new laws to terrorist groups in Canada, the use of a government list of selected groups is embarrassing," Thompson wrote.
But the biggest victims of terrorism in Canada are those who come from the same countries as the terrorist, according to the report.
"We have allowed agents of the violence experienced in other nations to come here, mercilessly dominate their fellows from their home societies and preach an Orwellian message that we must tolerate their intolerance and that it is racist and condescending to question their motives and actions. Worst still, some of our political leaders have accepted this message."
The report says Canada must act immediately to restore the world's confidence in its ability to deal with terrorists.
"It is almost too late now," Thompson says in his report. "Our reputation as a full partner in protecting our friends and allies from terrorism has sometimes been called into question."
He suggests a more concerted effort to meet our international obligations by acting on the new laws passed in Canada since Sept. 11. And he says more money should be provided to the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service to combat terrorism.
"It is not enough to pass laws, they have to be used," Thompson said.
"An unused law is worse than no law at all."
The Mackenzie Institute is an independent, non-profit organization that publishes reports on political instability and organized violence, including terrorism, political extremism, warfare and organized crime.
It is funded by individuals and charitable foundations.
Source: Vancouver Sun Credit: Kim Bolan