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Canada will not be scared off by ISIS threats: PMO spokesman

Jessica Hume. (Andre Forget/QMI AGENCY)

By Jessica Hume, National Bureau

OTTAWA - Immigration Minister Chris Alexander refused to apologize for revoking the passports of would-be Canadian terrorists, after terror group the Islamic State (ISIS) released a recruitment video over the weekend urging followers to kill all disbelievers, including Canadians and other Westerners.

"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European - especially the spiteful and filthy French - or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be," read the Islamic State statement, translated into English.

The audio recording says it does not matter whether the "disbeliever" is civilian or military.

"The best thing you can do is to strive to your best and kill any disbeliever, whether he be French, American, or from any of their allies."

The ISIS statement has been denounced by Canada, Jason MacDonald, the director of communications for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said in an e-mailed statement to QMI Agency on Monday.

"ISIS represents a threat not just to stability in the Middle East, but to global security,"

the statement said. "That is why we have taken the steps we have to provide humanitarian aid to Iraqis in the path of ISIS' barbarous rampage, and military aid to Iraqi security forces.

"We will continue to work with allies to push back against this threat. Like our allies we will not be cowed by threats while innocent children, women, men and religious minorities live in fear of these terrorists."

Alexander confirmed that the government has indeed denied passports to applicants deemed to have been interested in leaving Canada for the purposes of participating in terrorist activities but stopped short of saying how many, citing national security concerns.

"We have the power to revoke passports from those known to be going abroad to commit an indictable offence," he said.

For years the feds have held the right to deny, suspend or revoke passports for those intent "to assist in committing an indictable offence in Canada or similar offence abroad" or who applies for the passport fraudulently.

In 2004, then Liberal foreign affairs minister Bill Graham famously invoked "royal prerogative," citing national security concerns, to deny a passport to Abdulrahman Khadr, brother of convicted terrorist Omar Khadr. The federal court would later overturn that decision, noting the national security clause hadn't yet been added as a reason to deny a passport.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has indicated he sees this existing power of the Crown as "slippery slope."

"It is incomprehensible for the Liberal leader"¦ to defend the right of convicted terrorists to maintain Canadian citizenship and to be running away from microphones," Alexander said, referencing an apparent boycott by the Liberals of Sun News' questions on the topic.

Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett said Monday her concern with revoking passports is that it could prevent individuals from returning to Canada to face prosecution here - but also added it's never been up for debate in caucus meetings.

"It's something we haven't discussed in caucus yet," she said. "The concern has been that we could revoke the passport of someone who's away and not allow them back to face justice here."

 

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