RealPolitik podcast – Canadian intelligence community should continue to focus on Islamic extremist terrorism

Since the October 2017 Quebec City Mosque shooting by supposed far-right terrorist Alexandre Bissonnette, certain experts and media figures alike have raised questions about the Canadian intelligence community’s focus. Jessica Davis and Wesley Wark of the Globe and Mail, Liam B. Twomey of Intelligence Fusion, James Ellis of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, and Jim Bronskill of the Canadian Press all agree that far-right terrorism is a national security threat to Canada.

They also agree that fighting it should be made a priority, and that arguments that say otherwise are clearly “oversimplistic” and “dangerous”. These all argue that far-right terrorism should be further prioritized, at the expense of resources to monitor and counter other kinds of terrorism, primarily Islamic extremist terrorism. Such a position could legitimately be argued, as the number of deaths from far-right terrorism in Canada is higher than that of Islamic extremist terrorism, being 6 versus 2, and being that the number of members of the far-right fringe groups far surpass that of other kinds of terrorist groups in Canada.

I, however, will use this episode to argue the contrary position. To do so, I am joined by former CSE and CSIS intelligence analyst and linguist Phil Gurski, who served in Canadian security intelligence for 32 years and now acts as founder and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting. Our thesis will be that in terms of counterterrorism efforts, the Canadian intelligence community, including CSIS, the RCMP, the CAF and others, should continue to focus on Islamic extremist terrorism, while also trying to find additional funding to explore other threats, including far-right terrorism.

About the RealPolitik podcast

Striking the adequate balance between strict fiscal conservatism, pure nonintervention and the idealistic preservation of global human rights, prosperity and security has been a topic of contention in international relations intelligentsia for many decades, and will be the aim of our policy prescriptions. Foreign policy-making is, like global politics, highly nuanced and complicated, and requires circumstantial rather than absolute goals and methods. The policies presented will step away from redundant clichés, and will aim to be actual, useful, and pragmatic in nature, with the hopes of shaping Canadian and US foreign policy doctrines for current and future administrations.

Phil Gurski

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