No flood of extremist returnees to Canada expected, federal report says

The report says some 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad

A federal report says there has been no surge of extremist travellers returning to Canada, despite the overseas setbacks suffered by militant forces in Iraq and Syria.

The annual report on the terrorist threat to Canada says no such wave is expected because many potential returnees lack valid travel documents, find themselves on a no-fly list or fear being arrested on Canadian soil.

Others want to continue helping extremist groups abroad, have been captured or have died.

As members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant scatter, the Liberal government has come under pressure to explain what it’s doing to contain any threat from foreign fighters returning to Canada.

The report says some 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad and, of these, about 60 have returned — numbers that have remained static for several months.

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.

READ MORE: Reformed right-wing extremist from England loses battle to stay in Canada

READ MORE: Threat of extremism posed by proportional representation overstated: academics

The 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.

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. He has repeatedly expressed confidence in the ability of security agencies to manage any threat returnees might pose in Canada.

Though ISIL’s territorial holdings in the Syria-Iraq conflict zone continue to shrink, Canada has not seen a related influx in the number of extremist travellers who have returned to Canada, “nor does it expect to,” the report says.

The group Families Against Violent Extremism has said the Canadians detained by Kurdish authorities in Syrian territory include nine families and more than 10 children, including some who were taken to Syria at young ages and others who were born there.

Overall, Canada’s national terrorism threat level is medium, meaning a violent act of terrorism “could occur,” the report says. That’s the third position on a five-point scale and it’s unchanged from October 2014.

The principal terrorist threat to Canada continues to stem from individuals or groups who are inspired by violent Sunni Islamist ideology and terrorist groups, such as ISIL and al-Qaida, it says.

“Canada also remains concerned about threats posed by those who harbour right-wing extremist views,” the report adds.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cyclists and drivers take to the streets Wednesday morning in first official Bike to Work Week celebration

The 25th annual Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week kicks off the followingMonday, May 27

Police arrest jewellery thieves in same building they allegedly stole from

More than $6,000 worth of jewellery was recovered

Coastline serves up a feast of fiddlers in Oak Bay

Local Juno Award winner musical director for ensemble

High of 21 C for Wednesday

Plus your weekend forecast

Rickter Scale: Testing that time of our lives

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Ottawa spending $24.5M to research on health benefits, risks of pot use

$390,000 will fund two cannabis public awareness

Crackdown on money laundering does not include federal public inquiry: minister

An independent report commissioned concluded $7.4 billion was laundered in B.C. last year

Trudeau’s action plan on climate change brings B.C. politician out of retirement

Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister, is running for federal office in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

Survey finds minimal progress in Canadian military’s fight against sexual misconduct

1.6 per cent of regular-force members — 900 military personnel — reported having been victims of sexual assaults over past year

Thetis housing project clouded by confusion

View Royal mayor clarifies details about Capital Region Housing Corporation project

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Most Read