On July 1 many Canadians and their families celebrated the birth of our country. For 146 years this day has been a time to reflect on our great nation, celebrate the past and ponder future possibilities. Municipalities, provinces and the federal government have always planned events designed to bring us all together in peace and celebration. This year was no exception as thousands of Canadians enjoyed Canada Day and the summertime weather in Ottawa and here at home in the constituency.
Unfortunately this was not the case in Victoria, B.C., where two B.C. residents were arrested and charged in an alleged al-Qaeda-inspired terror plot at the legislature building. These two were intent on sabotaging our safety by committing acts of terrorism with the hope their actions would result in death and destruction.
This was not the case, thankfully. Much like the 2006 Ontario terrorism case that saw the arrest of 18 members of al-Qaeda (the ‘Toronto 18’) who were plotting a series of terrorist activities in Ontario, the hard working members of our RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams that includes investigators from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Canada Border Services Agency, intervened ensuring at no time the public was in any danger.
The recent arrests demonstrate a real threat continues to exist for Canadians. It is the first priority of any government to ensure it protects the safety and security of its citizens. This is the main reason why we need a continued, concentrated effort to be vigilant in the defence of our great country.
Our government has enacted new legislation and provided more tools for law enforcement to combat terrorism. Since 2006, we have passed: the Combating Terrorism Act, which provides law enforcement with more tools to fight terrorism; the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, which speeds up the deportation of those who pose a risk to Canadians; and the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which allows victims to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism as well as create the Most Wanted List which has resulted in the removal of 32 criminals from Canadian soil. Our government has reduced the removal backlog of foreign criminals and failed refugee claimants by 46 per cent and prevented the use of fake documents by making it mandatory for those coming to Canada to provide fingerprints and photographs.
Our commitment to protecting Canadians from terrorist threats is unyielding. The arrests in British Columbia have made Canada a safer place.
Please contact my constituency office if you have any questions or concerns on any federal matters, postage free, at: Bay #6A, 4612 – 50th Street, Ponoka, AB T4J 1S7; tel: 403-783-5530; toll free: 1-800-665-0865 or visit my web site: www.blainecalkinsmp.ca or on twitter at www.twitter.com/blainecalkinsmp.