Katherine Wilton, Montreal Gazette
Ottawa will spend $35 million over five years to fund programs that reach out to vulnerable people open to radicalization in a bid to prevent terror attacks in Canada.
The federal government will establish a national centre for de-radicalization that will coordinate efforts across Canada to fight extremism.
Most of the money will go to groups and organizations at the community level that are best equipped “to intervene in the right way, with the right tools and at the right time,” Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale said on Monday.
Goodale visited Montreal’s de-radicalization centre to learn what the centre is doing to help young people who are vulnerable to extremism and violence.
Last week, police stopped an alleged terrorist attack by an Ontario man who had become radicalized. The FBI informed the RCMP about a martyrdom video that Aaron Driver made pledging allegiance to ISIS.
“The events of the last week or so have demonstrated in Canada that we need to get better and better and better at understanding and dealing with the serious issue of radicalization,”Goodale said.
“We don’t have national coordination to bring all of this talent together and focus it on the problems where they exist,” Goodale said, adding that Ottawa wants to learn from experts in Montreal and Calgary, where anti-radicalization centres have already been established.
Ottawa will also consult experts in the United Kingdom and France “to make sure we tap into the best expertise wherever we can find it.”
Canada will have to become among the best in the world at dealing with radicalization and violence if it wants to maintain its “open, pluralistic and democratic society,” he said.
“We will be trying to ensure that we in Canada are among the best in the world at understanding radicalization: who is vulnerable to it, what causes it, what are the insidious messages that draw people in to this very perverse and damaging behaviour, and what are the techniques to counteract all of that negativity. What is the antidote to the poison?”