Canadian Intelligence Eh!

More foreign interference in Canada: the Iranian diaspora experience

Iran has engaged in nastiness for decades, including support for terrorist groups. What kind of influence does it exert on expats in Canada?

Episode 218 – How bad is the threat to Canada’s Iranian population?

Canadians have been hearing and reading a lot lately about the foreign influence/interference problem through a recently-completed public inquiry. While China has stolen the show, other countries have been mentioned as equally active in exerting pressure on a variety of diasporas. Iran is one of the regimes that has received some attention and Canada has a sizeable Iranian diaspora subject to these activities. Borealis talks with a leading Iranian Canadian on this threat.

About my guest

Shermineh Salehi Esmati has a MA in Government from Harvard University and a BA in Political Science from the University of Toronto and has dedicated her academic career to solving geopolitical tensions in the Middle East centred around Iran. She has advised think tanks, intelligence agencies and committed her career in the technology sector to strengthen Canada’s defence interests.   Ms Salehi Esmati is now refocused on advising defence-related startups and supporting Ontario’s cyber security initiatives in the nuclear energy sector.

Globe editorial: About that foreign-agents registry thing… – The Globe and Mail

RCMP respond to revelations about Iranian foreign interference in Canada |

Canadian Intelligence Eh

In a world of multiple voices and opinions it can be very hard to know where to turn.  One choice is to look to those who actually worked in counter-terrorism in the national security world. 

In these half-hour podcasts, 30-year Canadian intelligence veteran Phil Gurski is joined by a fascinating array of individuals with something meaningful to say about these issues as they provide insight into what they mean and what we need to do about them.

About Phil Gurski

Phil worked as a senior strategic analyst at CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) from 2001-2015, specializing in violent Islamist-inspired homegrown terrorism and radicalisation. From 1983 to 2001 he was employed as a senior multilingual analyst at Communications Security Establishment (CSE – Canada’s signals intelligence agency), specialising in the Middle East. He also served as senior special advisor in the National Security Directorate at Public Safety Canada from 2013, focusing on community outreach and training on radicalisation to violence, until his retirement from the civil service in May 2015, and as consultant for the Ontario Provincial Police’s Anti-Terrorism Section (PATS) from May to October 2015.

He was the Director of Security and Intelligence at the SecDev Group from June 2018 to July 2019 and the Director of the National Security Programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute from 2020-2022. Mr. Gurski has presented on violent Islamist-inspired and other forms of terrorism and radicalisation across Canada and around the world.

He is the author of The Threat from Within: Recognizing Al Qaeda-inspired Radicalization and Terrorism in the West (Rowman and Littlefield 2015) Western Foreign Fighters: The Threat to Homeland and International Security (Rowman and Littlefield 2017), The Lesser Jihads: Taking the Islamist fight to the world (Rowman and Littlefield 2017), An end to the ‘War on Terrorism When Religion Kills: How Extremist Justify Violence Through Faith (Lynne Rienner 2019) and The Peaceable Kingdom? A history of terrorism in Canada from Confederation to the present (self-published: 2021, republished by Double Dagger in 2022). He regularly blogs and podcasts (Canadian Intelligence Eh!), and tweets (@borealissaves) on terrorism and intelligence matters.

He was an associate fellow at the International Centre for Counter Terrorism (ICCT) in the Netherlands and is currently a digital fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide Studies at Concordia University. He is also a visiting fellow at the International Security and Risk Management programme at the University of South Wales

Mr. Gurski is a regular commentator on terrorism and intelligence for a wide variety of Canadian and international media.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.