What Makes An Attacker A Terrorist In Canada?
|The Huffington Post 31 Jan 2017 at 14:29|
You might answer the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), the separatist group that carried out dozens of attacks from 1963 to 1970, resulting in eight deaths, including Quebec deputy premier and cabinet minister Pierre Laporte. While politically motivated, FLQ members were charged with kidnapping and murder — not terrorism.
That s because prior to 9/11, it wasn t in Canada s Criminal Code — not until Dec 18, 2001 when the Anti-Terrorism Act went into effect.
According to a RCMP terrorism guide, terrorism is considered:
Activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political, or religious or ideological objective within Canada or a foreign state.
"The key differentiation between other aspects of the Criminal Code and an act of terrorism is the focus on intention," explained Lorne Dawson, director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society. "So a murder is a murder. What degree of murder it is will focus on issues of intention but for terrorism the very definition of the act that makes it a terrorist act, as opposed to just a murder, is that it is done for an ideological reason."
"The key differentiation between other aspects of the Criminal Code and an act of terrorism is the focus on intention."
, Bissonnette wrote social media postings in support of U.S. President Donald Trump and far-right French politican Marine Le Pen, as well as against immigration to Quebec.
Dawson said police need to have enough evidence to prove in court that the crime was motivated by ideology.
"A high percentage of lone wolf terrorists make some kind of public statement of their points of view and their intention. It s usually posted online or is published in some way. Nobody s found anything [from Bissonnette] but that doesn t mean it doesn t exist. I suspect what s going on right now is a massive search of anything in the world connected to his name." Fourteen women died in a shooting at the École Polytechnique in 1989. (Photo: Canadian Press)
Many people have objected to the mosque killings being labelled the largest terrorist attack on Canadian soil, citing the 1989 Montreal massacre in which Marc Lépine killed 14 women. His suicide note included rants against feminism.
He wasn t charged with terrorism at the time because that offence didn t exist, but would Lépine fit under the current definition?
There s also a distinction between a hate crime and a terrorist act: "The difference between them is the degree to which you can demonstrate that some kind of ideological orientation played a significant role in the motivations for the act, and it s all a judgment call on the degree."The RCMP released this image of Justin Bourque armed with two guns in June 2014.
The current discussion is also about race and religion. Dawson noted that Moncton shooter Justin Bourque, who killed three RCMP officers and was known for far-right views, was never called a terrorist, while was immediately labelled as one.
"The primary difference between the two cases is a Muslim and a non-Muslim," he said "There is a bit of othering going on here. That it is the tendency of all human beings to take people that are different from themselves and be more readily willing to assume the worst about them."
Bourque, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and attempted murder, is serving life in prison with three consecutive 25-year parole ineligibility terms. Zehaf-Bibeau died in a shootout with authorities after he stormed Parliament.
Dawson warned that we need to recognize terror threats from wherever they emerge. Norway s focus on Islamic terrorism, he said, led police to miss the warning signs of Anders Breivik, an anti-Muslim, anti-multiculturalism extremist who killed 77 people in 2011.
"It s not as pronounced. There s no two ways about it, the data does show that. But there is a real threat, always has been, and it may be rising from the so-called far right."
Last year, a federal report found that the terrorist threat level was "medium," meaning that a "violent act of terrorism could occur in Canada."