OTTAWA—The federal government should outlaw membership in a terrorist group, bar radicals from Canada and look at forbidding the glorification of extremists to protect the Canadian way of life, says a Senate committee.
The Senate security and defence committee also recommends creation of a “wanted terrorist” list and urges the government to explore options for training and certification of imams in Canada.
In addition, it calls on the government to work with Muslim communities to create “an effective counter-narrative” to denounce the ideology of Islamist fundamentalism.
These are among 25 recommendations in the committee’s interim report flowing from nine months of hearings on security threats facing Canada.
The report examines terrorist recruitment, operations, financing, prosecutions and other aspects of what it calls the genuine threat of violent extremism.
Canadians must tackle the issue in a thoughtful, balanced way without undermining the values “that make us great,” the report says.
“We must find every resource, tool and technique available to us as a civilized society to diminish and defeat a most uncivilized force,” it says.
“Our goal is to lessen the risk to all Canadians, including the risk to vulnerable young Canadians who might be lured to extreme ideas and violent action.”
The report represents the views of the Conservative majority on the committee, but lacks the backing of Liberal members.
A number of the recommendations push farther than the Harper government chose to go in its omnibus security bill, introduced after two Canadian soldiers were killed last October in daylight attacks just days apart by jihadi-inspired, lone-wolf attackers.
For instance, the anti-terrorism bill—which recently received royal assent—makes it a crime to promote terrorist acts but stops short of outlawing the glorification of extremist plots and symbols.
“We cannot try to appease this threat that we face,” Conservative Sen. Dan Lang, the committee chairman, said in an interview.
One recommendation takes aim at groups that invite foreign nationals with extremist views to speak to impressionable youth. It urges the government to establish a publicly accessible list of “ideological radicals” deemed to be a security threat, prohibiting them from visiting Canada.
A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney defended the government’s efforts to date, noting the anti-terrorism legislation allows police to take action to prevent radicalization, including removal of Internet material used to influence people.