Ideologically-Motivated Violent Extremists
Date: 2020 10 30
Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes, except phone.
Branch / Agency: CSIS and Public Safety
This tasking follows a briefing with the Minister of Public Safety.
- The uncertain environment caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic is ripe for exploitation by those making and spreading extremist propaganda.
- Extremists draw inspiration from a variety of sources. They attempt to create a culture of fear, hatred and mistrust by leveraging an online audience in an attempt to legitimize their beliefs and move from the fringes of society to the mainstream.
- CSIS continues to work with Government of Canada and international partners to follow the evolution of the extremist landscape and emerging threat environment to support actions, including by law enforcement as appropriate.
- Canada is not immune to terrorist attacks conducted by Ideologically-Motivated Violent Extremists, as we saw in the Toronto spa attack.
- Our government takes very seriously the longstanding threats posed by individuals who engage in religiously, politically or ideologically motivated violent extremism. My portfolio is actively investigating these threats.
- Terrorist listings is one of many tools that Canada uses to combat threats from IMVE. In June 2019, Canada, for the first time, listed two IMVE groups as terrorist entities under the Criminal Code. Blood & Honour is an international neo-Nazi network which, through its armed branch Combat 18, has carried out violent actions, including murders and bombings.
- In addition, Public Safety’s Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence provides leadership on Canada’s efforts to prevent and counter radicalization to violence, including investing in research and programming to address ideologically motivated violent extremism.
Canada is not immune to acts committed in the name of ideologically, politically or religiously motivated violent extremism, with the 2017 shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, the 2018 van attack and 2020 spa attack in Toronto.
The motivations behind violent extremists have become more complex. Individuals who commit violent acts are no longer influenced by a singular and definable belief system, but a range of very personal and diverse grievances. For that reason, CSIS took a leading role in developing an understanding and terminology that more accurately depicts the broad range of terrorist and violent extremist threat facing Canada.
CSIS stopped using terms such as “right-wing” and “left-wing” and instead uses ideologically, politically or religiously motivated violent extremist – this language is reflected in the Minister’s mandate letter to capture the complex landscape of these threat actors, and is reflected in CSIS’ 2019 Public Report.
The terminology we use when discussing threats to our national security matter. It matters not only to understand the threat posed by various violent extremist threat actors but also to ensure we are not using words that unintentionally or unfairly stigmatize any given community.
An ideologically-motivated violent extremist conducted an machete attack in a Toronto massage parlour on 24 February 2020, killing a 24-year-old mother and injuring two more individuals. The 17-year old suspect was charged with first degree murder and attempted murder.
Prepared by: N/A
Approved by: Tricia Geddes, Deputy Director Policy and Strategic Partnerships, [Redacted]
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