Canada Day is going to be hot and sunny in my part of the world. Living flags, obscure multi-cultural bands and, later fireworks with routine police checks of everyone riding the buses to make sure no one is actually carrying a beer to the festivities.
Sounds like fun and it is. But this year there is just a hint of caution. Do I really want to take my family into a crowded place? Sure, there is tons of security – those cops will take away your kettle bomb as well as your beer. Chatter is being monitored. CSIS and the Horsemen are on the job.
There is an argument that if you hesitate, if you alter your behaviour in any way, the terrorists have won. It is a good argument but unconvincing. Back in the day, a decade ago, rowdy teenagers were the only issue at Canada Day festivities. Hardly a big deal. Now we have the niggling suspicion that even with Canada’s excellent security services, whack job “lone wolves” are a live possibility.
Looking at the pictures and video from Tunisia, the carnage inflicted by one (or perhaps two) gunmen armed with automatic weapons is dreadful. But one evil Islamist in a F-150 pick-up could do equal damage in a crowd.
Security is always a balance between resources and threat. In Canada, for the moment, the threat seems to be relatively minimal and somewhat contained. Yet I would have said the same thing before the Islamic terrorist shot up the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
Canada Day celebrations across the country are now targets and the security services wisely treat them as such. Which, I think, tells you how far our situation has deteriorated.
For a variety of reasons I do not like Bill C-51. It is too broad, it lacks essential oversight, it invites abuse. But I agree with the impetus behind the Bill. There are terrorists abroad in the Dominion. They are motivated by support for Islam. They need to be found, stopped, and their networks rolled up. The Tunisians knew where to look – they closed 80 mosques.
If we are going to have our security services deal with terror they need the tools to do it and they need strict oversight and real consequences if they abuse those tools. I wrote about that here. We also need to stop adding fuel to what, in Canada, is still a very small fire. As we lack the resources to positively vet immigrants from majority Muslim nations, we need to have a moratorium on immigration from those nations save for the minorities in those nations who are being slaughtered by ISIS and its ideological allies. And we have to stop pretending that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorists who commit their crimes in the name of Allah.
Canada Day celebrates the birthday of an extraordinary nation. A nation which has welcomed newcomers for its entire life. To keep that nation strong and free, we have to have the gumption to prevent its invasion by people who do not share our broadly held values and whose ideology (masked as a religion) means that they never will. Our security services can, I hope, deal with the potential terrorists who are already here; but asking them to deal with wave after wave of people who will not accept, much less share, our democratic commitments is too much. Sooner rather than later we need to understand and confront the Islamic threat to Canada and the West.
Meanwhile, enjoy the day!