Despite alarms being raised about the dangers posed by returning ISIS Jihadists who’ve worked in the killing fields of Syria, a federal report says Canadians have nothing to worry about as there has been no surge of extremist travellers returning to Canada.
The annual report on the terrorist threat to Canada says a wave of returnees is not expected because many who went abroad now lack valid travel documents, find themselves on a no-fly list or fear being arrested on Canadian soil.
Others want to stay and continue helping extremist groups, have been captured or have died.
The report says some 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad and, in addition, approximately another 60 have returned — numbers that have remained static over the last three years.
The activities of these Canadians in various countries could involve front-line fighting, training, logistical support, fundraising or studying at extremist-influenced schools.
A “relatively small number” of the 60 people have returned from Turkey, Iraq or Syria, the report says, without providing more details.
The Opposition Conservatives have peppered the government with questions in the House of Commons about ensuring the safety of Canadians — accusing the Liberals of welcoming returnees with open arms.
Meanwhile Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Canadian security and intelligence forces are working with their international counterparts to investigate Canadians who travelled overseas to join terrorists.
The report also acknowledges it is “sometimes difficult” to collect needed evidence, particularly outside of Canada. In addition, there are often challenges associated with using intelligence and other sensitive information in court proceedings.
This is a sensitive issue and one that leaves security forces with the choice of giving these returning Jihadists the benefit of the doubt. -CINEWS