Canada's skyrocketing immigration is creating new security challenges that should prompt the nation to consider more direct steps to try to weed out those who may bring radical Islamist ideology with them, an intelligence expert testified Thursday.
David B. Harris, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service chief of strategic planning, told a Senate committee in Ottawa that the rate of immigration – 250,000 people per year – is creating more enclaves in the country, diluting the normal pattern in which "a newcomer's radical tendencies might more readily have been overwhelmed by Canada's ambient liberal-pluralist atmosphere."
Canada's population grew from 29 million people to 34 million people in just over a decade. Many of them come from Muslim majority countries that have extremist movements. In many cases, those immigrants may have been escaping from that radical ideology. But others might be importing it.
As an example, Harris noted 20,000 new permanent residents from Egypt, where a recent Pew poll found overwhelming support for Islamic law tenets such as the death penalty for adultery and for converts from Islam, and 20 percent support for al-Qaida.
"Does extremism travel well?" asked Harris, who now directs the International and Terrorist Intelligence Program for INSIGNIS Strategic Research. "A 2007 Environics poll says 12 percent of Canadian Muslims could justify a Toronto-18 type plot calling for mass-casualty attacks in Canada, including invading Parliament and beheading the prime minister. That means that between 49,000 and 119,000 Canadians could justify making war on fellow Canadians."
That isn't helped by two organized Islamist groups in Canada: the Muslim Association of Canada, which openly declares allegiance to Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Canada, which Harris said is "known for its divisive, poorly documented insistence that Muslims are subject to broad-ranging persecution in Canada."
His concerns, he said, are shared by moderate Muslim groups in Canada. See the entire testimony here.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that the U.S. and Canada are about to unveil significant changes regarding border and security cooperation between the two countries.