Preventing Radicalization to Violence

March 27-29, 2015, Ottawa, Ontario

Participants: The Minister of Justice, the Deputy Ministers of Public Safety Canada and of Justice, as well as senior officials from Public Safety Canada, the Department of Justice, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Correctional Service of Canada, and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada participated in the dialogue with the members.

Discussion: The meeting's theme focused on preventing radicalization to violence. Members were provided with an overview of recent developments on the radicalization leading to violence issue and built upon the discussions that took place at the November 21, 2014 meeting in Halifax. Overviews were given on the research, policy and program initiatives that are under development by the Correctional Service of Canada for the management of radicalized offenders; proposed intervention programs by municipal law enforcement in Toronto and Calgary; the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security & Society’s work and research with communities on countering violent extremism; on research results from funding recipients under the Kanishka Project, including counter-messaging tools and approaches; and, on the research done concerning the evolution of militant groups in Syria. A question and answer period was also held on the proposed legislation under Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.

Members welcomed the research being done across Canada and on the international stage that focuses on prevention and early intervention of those who may become radicalized to violence.  Members supported and encouraged continuing to engage with communities, to build on trusted relationships, to empower families and train leaders on preventing radicalization before it moves to the truly criminal space. Members agreed that using the story-telling approach to create a dialogue within communities is effective, and members welcomed the continued creation of stories that illustrate the truth of radicalized life from credible and relatable voices. Most members raised the need for critical-thinking skills to be taught in the education system. Communities have requested more outreach efforts by local police services in order to create a stronger partnership with them in countering radicalization. As such, members agreed more support and encouragement is needed to help underscore the importance and legitimacy of outreach and community-based policing, as opposed to the more traditional enforcement and investigative side of policing. Officers should thus be encouraged to take on this side of policing.

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