CANADA: Stephen Harper Pledges $10 Million To Kanishka Project For Terrorism, Radicalization Research
On the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S., Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is committing new money to research terrorism and radicalization.
The Tories pledged $10 million over five years to the Kanishka Project, an initiative — established in 2011 and named in recognition of the 1985 Air India bombing that killed 331 people — to better understand radicalization and effective ways to prevent attacks.
The Kanishka Project is administered through Public Safety Canada and has funded research by academics both in Canada and abroad. For example, in October 2014 the government put out a call soliciting research on how jihadists use the internet, while in July it was announced that the project would provide $170,000 over two years to an Australian sociologist studying why some Canadians convert to Islam.
Stephen Harper has made security a primary issue in the run-up to the Oct. 19 vote. He has stressed Canada’s involvement in the U.S.-led military intervention against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as critical to the safety of Canadians. He also been highly critical of the NDP and Liberals’ opposition to Canada’s military contribution to the anti-ISIS coalition.
In a release that accompanied Harper’s speech in Victoriaville, Que., this morning, the Tories credited the military campaign with curbing ISIS’ advances, saying “as a result of the coalition’s military intervention. ISIS has lost a quarter of the territory it previously controlled.”
The fight against ISIS is deeply connected to the ongoing refugee crisis, which has recently become a central focus of the election campaign. Many of those people trying to reach European shores are fleeing violence in part fuelled by ISIS’s multi-front war with rebel groups and the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, as well as with government forces in the northern regions of Iraq.
Harper also touted his government’s record on implementing what it says are measures to increase security, including a number of controversial bills that amended Canada’s citizenship framework and expanded the powers of the RCMP and CSIS, Canada’s spy agency.
Bill C-24 gave government the authority to revoke the Canadian citizenship of any dual national convicted of terrorism-related offences abroad. Bill C-51, enacted following the shootings of Parliament Hill last October, expanded on the powers granted to police by legislation introduced by a Liberal government after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people, 24 of them Canadian.
The U.S. marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with solemn ceremonies in New York City and Washington.