Country Report on Terrorism 2011 - Chapter 2 - Canada


Overview: Canada remained one of the United States' closest counterterrorism partners. In October, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the Canadian government “is committed to ensuring that Canada remains at the forefront of global efforts to counter terrorism.” Canada and the United States cooperated bilaterally through the Cross Border Crime Forum Sub-group on and the Bilateral Consultative Group on Counterterrorism.

On December 7, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced action plans for the Beyond the Border (BTB) and Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) initiatives, designed to deepen border management partnership and enhance security. The complementary plans promote transparency, efficiency, security, and the accelerated flow of people and trade across the U.S.-Canada border.

The BTB action plan specifically seeks to create policy guidelines for addressing threats as early as possible and to coordinate screening through an integrated U.S.-Canada entry and exit system. Additional BTB priorities include cooperating on efforts to counter violent extremism, improving information sharing to leverage limited resources, and augmenting the ability of governments and communities to respond to both natural and man-made threats, including natural disasters and health security threats.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Canadian government passed one counterterrorism-related bill and introduced a second that remained under consideration.

  • On March 23, C-42, the Strengthening Aviation Security Act, which provides legal authority for Canadian officials to share information with the United States for the purposes of the Secure Flight program, received Royal Assent (head of state approval) in the 40th Parliament and entered into force immediately.
  • C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, rolled together nine draft crime and national security bills from the 40th Parliament into one omnibus crime bill. It includes the former S-7, “An Act to deter Terrorism and Amend the State Immunity Act,” that would allow terrorism victims to sue terrorists and terrorist entities – and in some cases foreign states that have supported terrorist entities – for loss or damage suffered as a result of their acts. At year's end, C-10 had passed the House of Commons and had been referred for Committee study in the Senate.

Legal actions :

  • On March 4, Shareef Abdelhaleem, a member of the so-called Toronto 18 who was convicted for his participation in a bomb plot in 2006, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for ten years. Abdelhaleem is the last of the eleven members tried to be sentenced. (The Toronto 18 planned to bomb several Canadian targets, including Parliament Hill, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) headquarters, and nuclear power plants).
  • On March 29, authorities arrested Mohamed Hersi at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Hersi was allegedly en route to Somalia to join al-Shabaab. Police charged him with attempting to participate in terrorist activity and counseling terrorist participation. Hersi was freed on bail.
  • On June 30, the Supreme Court granted leave to Piratheepan Nadarajah and Suresh Sriskandarajah to appeal their extradition to the United States to stand trial on charges of attempting to purchase surface-to-air missiles and other weaponry in the United States for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Authorities released the men on bail in January pending their application to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had not specified a date to hear the appeal.

Cooperation sought during the previous five years in the investigation or prosecution of an act of international terrorism against U.S. citizens or interests, included: 

  • On January 19, Canadian authorities arrested Canadian-Iraqi citizen Faruq Khalil Muhammad in response to U.S. charges that he helped coordinate Tunisian terrorists believed responsible for separate suicide attacks in Iraq in 2009 that killed five U.S. soldiers outside a U.S. base and seven people at an Iraqi police complex. Faruq's appeal regarding his extradition continued at year's end.
  • On November 3, the Supreme Court rejected a federal government application for a hearing to extradite Canadian citizen Abdullah Khadr, brother of Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr and eldest son of Usama bin Ladin-associate Ahmed Khadr. The decision effectively upheld a lower-court ruling that had prevented Khadr's extradition to the United States. According to usual practice, the court gave no reasons for dismissing the application.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Canada is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a FATF-style regional body; and is a supporting nation of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. Canada was also an observer in the Council of Europe's Select Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering in South America, another FATF-style regional body.

The Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revoked the charitable status of the World Islamic Call Society of Canada (WICS-Canada) and the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN). The CRA uncovered that WICS-Canada operated under the direction of, and received its funding from, WICS-Libya, an organization founded by former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi and funded through allocations made by Gaddafi from the “Jihad Fund.” CRA also found IRFAN-Canada provided significant financial support to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization in Canada.

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), Canada's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), reported a record 777 case disclosures in fiscal year 2010-2011. Of those cases, 151 were related to terrorist financing and other threats to Canada's security. FINTRAC signed eleven new bilateral agreements with foreign FIUs that allowed for the exchange of money laundering and terrorist financing information.

On March 21, the British Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that the six-month sentence handed to Prapaharan Thambirthurai in 2010 for knowingly raising US $2,600 to benefit the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was appropriate. The federal government appealed the sentence, arguing that it did not properly reflect the seriousness of the terrorist financing charge.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: Canada is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and co-chaired its Sahel Regional Capacity Building Group. Canada is an active member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations, the G8, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation , Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)/ASEAN Regional Forum, the International Civil Aviation Organization , the International Maritime Organization, and the Organization of American States.

Canada's Counterterrorism Capacity Building Program, created in 2005, provided training, funding, equipment, and technical and legal assistance to states enabling them to prevent and respond to terrorist activity in seven areas:

  1. Border security;
  2. Transportation security;
  3. Legislative, regulatory and legal policy development, legislative drafting, and human rights and counterterrorism training;
  4. Law enforcement, security, military and intelligence training; chemical/biological/ radiological/nuclear and explosives terrorism prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery;
  5. Combating terrorism financing;
  6. Cyber security, and
  7. Critical infrastructure protection.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The RCMP's National Security Community Outreach program promoted interaction and relationship-building with communities at risk of radicalization. The Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security fostered dialogue on national security issues between the government and community leaders. In its 2011-2012 priorities, the DPS articulated its intention to work with other government departments to develop policy responses to strengthen Canada's domestic capacity to counter violent extremism. The government also worked with non-governmental partners and concerned communities to deter violent extremism through preventative programming and community outreach.