The nature of global terrorism has evolved. The arrest of a number of Canadians in Toronto in 2006 for allegedly planning to kill fellow citizens is but one case of a growing trend of homegrown terrorism.

In The Enemies Within: Confronting Homegrown Terrorism in Canada, AIMS Security and Defence Policy Fellow Alex Wilner says understanding how to combat homegrown terrorism will require an innovative, multi-faceted, and coordinated strategy. He offers four strategies.

  • The Canadian government must better understand the particular pathways that lead ordinary Canadians to embrace and employ violence against fellow nationals. By appreciating what drives the radicalization process, Canadians will be in a better position to influence and impede its development.
  • Canada must more readily monitor local elements that preach, incubate, and foster ideologies of hatred and violence. While self-radicalization is possible, an embrace of terrorism and violence is more often than not fortified by ideological or practical guidance from above. Community leaders who advocate and promote violence against Canadians must be deterred from doing so.
  • Ottawa should consider utilizing the internet not only to uncover, track, and impede terrorist infrastructure and planning in Canada but to disseminate the rationales that underpin Canada’s defence and foreign policy. The internet is not only a useful counterterrorism tool but also an apparatus for contradicting extremist viewpoints while arming moderate ideological factions
  • If and when a homegrown terrorist group or plot is uncovered, the Canadian government must use all of its facilities to disrupt and foil the threat. To do so effectively and expeditiously, Canada must retain a robust intelligence gathering and policing capability and uphold the inter-agency and international cooperative relationships it will need to manage terrorist threats whenever and wherever they may arise.

To read the complete paper, click here.