The federal government tells us there are some 60 people who have returned to Canadian soil after waging jihad abroad.
There are reasons to believe the number may be higher than that. But, regardless, it’s a big number.
So far we’ve been talking about this mostly in the abstract. It’s more a statistic than anything else. We have no names. No pictures. No personal stories.
Not until now. A man who claims to be a returning ISIS fighter walking about freely in Toronto appeared in a recent New York Times podcast to tell his tale.
“He made his way back to Canada without being arrested under its antiterrorism laws,” the paper reports.
These laws make it a crime to travel abroad to participate in terror activities. It ought to be grounds to have the former ISIS fighter rounded up, locked up and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But that hasn’t happened.
The Conservatives drew attention to this Friday morning in the House of Commons, demanding action from the government.
“This individual is speaking freely to the media,” said Conservative MP Candice Bergen. “The government has got to know where he is.”
The man has both claimed and denied he executed people and says he knows he won’t be caught.
This is unacceptable. He shouldn’t be roaming the streets.
But Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale would offer no such assurances that action was forthcoming. Instead, he said it was a police operational matter and chastised Bergen for pressing the issue.
Now Goodale has a point in that nobody should expect to be told details of police investigations. Perhaps police are about to close in on the guy and don’t want him running scared.
Yet, to say the Trudeau government fails to inspire confidence when it comes to getting tough on terrorists is the understatement of the century. Their soft on terror track record should make Canadians concerned about their priorities on this file.
Goodale pointed out that CSIS and the RCMP use many methods such as criminal charges, prosecutions, peace bonds and no fly listings to deal with suspected terrorists.
These are all well and good. But will we see action against this individual? And if not, why? The public has a right to know.