On the same day a new report confirmed hundreds of Canadians have travelled abroad in support of terror groups like ISIS, one of the country’s top cops outlined for CTV News what he sees as flaws in the fight against extremism.
In an exclusive interview with Mercedes Stephenson, RCMP Deputy Commissioner Mike Cabana said the Mounties receive significant amounts of information from CSIS and the FBI but are barred from bringing charges.
“Sometimes we have information that clearly indicates the individuals may be moving toward violent tendencies but unfortunately we cannot proceed with criminal charges because that information would be inadmissible,” Cabana said.
Another problem for the RCMP is tracking terror suspects.
Police estimate that only about half of terror suspects in Canada are ordered by judges to wear GPS tracking bracelets.
ISIS supporter Aaron Driver, who was fatally shot by police after detonating a bomb in a taxicab earlier this month in Strathroy, Ont., had been forced to wear a bracelet after he was placed on a terrorism-related peace bond in June 2015.
After Driver moved from Winnipeg to London, Ont., it was his GPS bracelet that tipped off members of the local Muslim community that he was a possible threat.
However, a judge decided in February that Driver was not enough of a threat to warrant the bracelet.
Cabana said the tracking devices make it easier to find a suspect when they suspect an “imminent” threat.
The judge did forbid Driver from using a cellphone or a computer until August, but he still managed to go online and upload a video that caught the attention of the FBI, causing police to swarm into Strathroy on Aug. 10.
That points to another problem in police investigations: Cabana said the majority of cases involve encrypted online communications, making Internet bans ineffective.
“Because of the encryption that’s being used, our ability to actually determine beyond a doubt that the individual that’s under restriction is the one using the Internet is non-existent,” Cabana said
Public Safety Canada’s 2016 report on the terrorist threatto Canada states that at the end of 2015, approximately 180 individuals “with a nexus to Canada” were suspected of being abroad for terrorism and another 60 suspected extremists had gone and returned.
The report noted that, since 2002, 20 individuals were convicted of terrorism offences under the Criminal Code and 21 have been charged with terrorism-related offences and are either awaiting trial or face outstanding warrants.
“Canada remains the target of direct threats by groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Daesh) and al Qaeda, and by individuals inspired by the violent extremist ideologies of these groups,” the report states.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he recognizes there are gaps in addressing the terror threat and that he is working to address them.
With a report from CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson