New focus on domestic terror threat 0
Vic Toews, Canada's Public Safety Minister speaks to the media in Ottawa Feb 9, 2012 after making an announcement at the Colloquium on Identifying Effective Programming to Prevent Terrorism. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)
Public Safety Minster Vic Toews says homegrown terror is an evolving threat and he's made it a key focus of his new counterterrorism strategy.
"It's a very difficult situation to detect given that radicalization can literally occur in a matter of weeks and months ‹ often before agencies are alive to that particular threat, so that needs to be addressed," Toews said after announcing his new strategy at an international conference in Ottawa Thursday.
The minister says part of the strategy is better education.
"That means outreach into some communities," Toews said. "We've had tremendous success with some of our security and law enforcement agencies in working with communities who have been directly affected by terrorist organizations."
As recently as last October, the terror group Al-Shabaab released a recording to recruit young Canadians of Somali origin to kill non-Muslims.
One of Toews' officials stressed there is no single ethnic or religious group targeted for outreach.
While the strategy recognizes the now familiar threat from Islamist groups like al-Qaida, it also focuses on extremists in the animal rights, environmental, white supremacy, and anti-capitalism movements.
Toews said the strategy will allow for better co-ordination "to ensure that all our security agencies are working closely together ‹ that there's a framework that they can rely on in terms of ensuring that they are taking every reasonable step in that respect."
Officials say that means one agency won't have to guess what another agency is working on.