In 2014, TSAS released its second Call for Proposals, which funded the eight projects below for the April 2015 – March 2016 period. Each project will generate a working paper, and results will be presented at a workshop in Ottawa, tentatively planned for September 2016.
jump to Round 1
1. Counter-Terrorism Financing in Canada: Banking Practices
Key Researcher: Anthony Amicelle, École de criminology, Université de Montréal
All current strategies for combating terrorism include financial policing frameworks to detect and deter the financing of terrorist activities and to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of terrorist activity financing offenses. National and international initiatives that have been implemented take various forms, including the imposition of targeted economic sanctions, law enforcement cooperation and the delegation of policing prerogatives to ‘private’ actors. Indeed, governmental action against terrorist financing mainly relies on the vigilance of ‘private’ institutions, which are responsible for detecting suspicious transactions and clients and passing relevant information on to national financial intelligence units such as FINTRAC in Canada. Banks are foremost among these institutions but many other professions are also involved such as insurance companies, casinos, money services businesses, dealers in precious metals and stones, real estate brokers and so on. Banking establishments have thus had to devise and implement procedures for keeping watch over their clientele on behalf of the tasks that governments ask them to perform. As a result, banks are officially – and often reluctantly – strategic nodes in the risk-based governance of financial flows in relation to the fight against terrorism.
Yet, although it is at the level of financial entities that this battle takes place on an everyday basis, very few studies in Canada pay attention to banking practices of risk management in relation to terrorism. How do they concretely define the reasonable grounds to suspect that a transaction is related to a terrorist financing offense? To what extent do they face the challenge of ‘juggling’ with national and international ‘terrorist lists’ of hundreds or thousands of entries for which financial assets must be blocked? Based on a series of participant observations, interviews with bank compliance officers and document analysis, this project will explore and analyse banking practices against terrorist financing in Toronto, i.e. Canada’s financial centre. We will highlight landmarks and potential tensions in banking routines regarding counter-terrorism financing obligations. This project aims at bringing a theoretical contribution to a significant but understudied aspect of counter-terrorism in Canada while identifying key elements to assess the current practices of financial policing.
2. Feeling Accepted: A Protection Against Radicalization among New Canadians?
Key Researcher: Antoine Bilodeau, Political Science, Concordia University
Irene Bloemraad’s book Becoming a Citizen (2006) was acclaimed not only because of its capacity at explaining the gap in naturalization rates between Canada and the US, but also because it drew the attention to the role of policies in fostering a welcoming environment that is conductive to a positive integration of immigrants. Bloemraad’s rationale is straightforward; in part because the policy of multiculturalism helps immigrants feel accepted, they are more likely to join formally the Canadian political community. Beyond Bloemraad’s work, however, little work has been done to trace the consequences of the feeling of being accepted. This project deepens the investigation into the role of feeling accepted for immigrant integration, more specifically for preventing the exclusion and radicalization of new Canadians.
In a previous project, I began investigating these questions in the context of Quebec (Bilodeau 2013).The findings indicate that new Canadians with weak feelings of being accepted exhibit a weaker interest in the public affairs of Canada, a lower satisfaction with democracy, a weaker sense of civic duty, and a weaker attachment to Canada.
The project proposes to compare the strength of feelings of being accepted and their consequences among new Canadians in four provinces, namely Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. As indicated in previous research, provinces are not equally accommodating and welcoming to newcomers (Garcea, 2006; Bilodeau et al. 2012). Yet, we know little about the variations in immigrant integration across Canadian provinces and about the sources of these variations. This project aims at filing this gap with a focus on the role of feeling accepted. Moreover, the project provides a focus on younger new Canadians aged 18 to 34, a sensitive group likely to be greatly affected by weak feelings of being accepted.
This project answers four questions using new data from the Provincial Diversity Project conducted in the winter 2014. First, are feelings of being accepted equally strong among new Canadians in all four provinces? Second, are feelings of being accepted weaker among younger new Canadians? Third, what are the consequences of feeling accepted for exclusion and radicalization? Fourth, are the consequences more pronounced for younger new Canadians?
3. The experience of Muslim civil society organizations in shaping Canadian antiterrorism law and policy
Key Researcher: Tufyal Choudhury, School of Law, Durham University
The Al-Qaida narrative exploits perceptions and experiences of discrimination, social exclusion and marginalization in its appeal to young Muslims in Europe and North America. Through its call for violence, it argues against the legitimacy and the effectiveness of democratic processes in addressing the concerns and grievances of Muslims. Muslim citizens in the West experience marginalization through the exclusion of their views, experiences and voices in the debate and discussion on key policy areas that impact on their lives. A perception that little can be done to influence or change public policy can reinforce feelings of disempowerment and further alienation. In recognition of this, strengthening democratic values and political participation has become an essential element in policies for preventing radicalization and violent extremism in Europe and North America.
In the post-9/11 context, counter-terrorism has a particular impact on Canadian Muslims. The legitimacy of such policies increases where communities see that their views, experiences and concerns about particular policies are considered seriously by government and Parliament. If the project is able to identify the genuine and reasonably extensive participation of Canadian Muslim civil society organizations, allowing their voices to be heard and their concerns recognized and addressed, that would provide a critical test for the efficacy of democratic participation. Through reviewing policy changes on two issues, firstly the changes in terminology used in government policy to describe the nature of the terrorist threat (in particular the use of the term ‘Islamist’), and secondly, the introduction of laws allowing preventative detention of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism, (Anti-Terrorism Act 2001 and Combatting Terrorism Act 2013), this research examines the role Canadian Muslim civil society organizations played in shaping counterterrorism law and policy. The case studies investigate the policy development process to see what it tells us about how counter-terrorism policy is developed and the capacity for those affected by the policy to influence decisions. The research examines the opportunities for participation of Canadian Muslim civil society organizations, and the responsiveness of the policy and legislative process to their views.
4. A concurrent evaluation of threat assessment tools for the individual assessment of terrorism
Key Researcher: Stephen Hart, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University
The individual assessment and management of terrorism threat is of critical importance in Canada and abroad. Two of the most promising tools developed in recent years to guide threat assessment professionals in the assessment and management of terrorist risk are led by Canadian TSAS affiliated scientist-practitioners. One tool, the Multi-level Guidelines (MLG) was developed for the assessment and management of group-based violence, including extremism and terrorist violence. The other tool, the second version of the Violent Extremism Risk Assessment (VERA-2) was developed for the assessment and management of extremist violence, specifically. The MLG and VERA-2 are both structure professional judgment tools that are evidence (research) and consensus (expert opinion) based, grounded in best-practice models of threat assessment of violence. As both tools are relatively new, continued research is critical to establish the utility, reliability, and validity of the tools in practice.
Research to date suggests that both the MLG and VERA-2 have demonstrated utility, or usefulness, for their purposes, reliability of the application of the tools by academics and practitioners, and content validity. However, for both tools the research is limited to a handful of studies and settings, and there have never been concurrent evaluation of the tools, leaving policy makers to make determinations of the tools that best suits their need without comprehensive evidence to inform their decisions. There is a need for empirical investigations into the extent to which existing tools meets operational needs, if additional changes to existing tools are needed to meet those needs, or if new tools need to be developed. The goals of the current project are to (1) examine the utility, reliability, and validity of these two tools concurrently with the aim of providing evidence-based information to policy markers and (2) to continue development of best-practice tools in the area of threat assessment of terrorist violence.
5. Exploring Women’s Participation in Online Radical Milieus
Key Researcher: Laura Huey, Department of Sociology, University of Western Ontario
To deepen our understanding of the role of gender in influencing the selection of pathways through which individuals and groups can become radicalized into engaging in terrorism and other forms of violent extremism, this study explores women’s participation in online spaces that serve as ‘radicalizing milieus’. Radical milieus are social spaces within which individuals not only share a common ideology that is mutually supported within and across the group or network, but also a solidarity and/or sympathetic bonds that can result in individuals lending material and moral support for acts of violence, inciting would-be violent actors and/or being incited to commit acts of violence (Waldmann 2008; Conway 2012).
Historically, radical milieus were not only social, but physical spaces that necessitated bonds developed through face-to-face interactions in real time; with the introduction of the online world, there now exist “virtual market places for extremist ideas” (Sageman 2008: 37) that operate anonymously, everywhere in the world, simultaneously, 24/7. Online milieus open up, exponentially, the possibilities for radicalization through the creation of new audiences for extremist media content – audiences, such as women, who might otherwise have been excluded from an extremist movement in the ‘real world’ because of their gender (Bloom 2013). Fortunately, the accessibility of many of these online milieus also permits new opportunities for developing important insights into this phenomenon (Waldmann 2008). To that end, the present study will draw on an analysis of data collected from postings made by female posters on selected North American based sites to answer the following research questions:
1. How many of a site’s active (within the preceding 6 months) posters self-identify as female (by name, avatar, post contents, fonts and/or other indicators)?
2. What is the volume of posts generated by active female members?
3. Can identifiable patterns of engagement (i.e. expressions of sympathy, moral support, offers of material support, incitement of violence, expressions of willingness to engage in violence), be discerned based on content of posts?
4. Does the nature of the issue affect the frequency of women’s involvement in posting on a site? Does the nature of the issue affect patterns of engagement?
6. Crime and Terror: Evidence-based Medicine
Key Researcher: Ron Levi, Munk School of Global Affairs and Department of Sociology, University of Toronto
What works in counter–terrorism policy? This question continues to stymie social science research – with the lack of robust evidence for assessing counter–terrorism strategies due, at least in part, to (1) a relatively small number of cases to generate reliable results; and (2) the inability to conduct controlled or experimental studies to generate robust inferences. A recent Campbell Systematic Review goes so far as to indicate that 7 of 20,000 studies offer a “moderately rigorous evaluation study of a counter–terrorism program.” In contrast, criminological research enjoys abundant data about crime, deterrence, and prevention, whether on organized crime groups, the effects of crime displacement, the capacity for communities to enforce pro–social norms and generate collective efficacy. This research focuses both on law enforcement and on building resilient communities.
There are, of course, significant differences between terrorism and crime. Yet definitions of terrorism emphasize criminological elements such as force, violence, coercion, and intimidation: and there is now an increasing drive from policy–makers and researchers to consider links between these fields. This project builds on the array of rigorous empirical research available in criminology to address the most vexing questions in counter–terrorism policymaking. The research team draws together expertise in criminology and law (Ron Levi) with expertise in international relations, security, and conflict management (Janice Stein), to write a book that addresses, for an educated general audience, how to devise evidence– driven counter–terrorism policies that emphasize both law enforcement and the importance of informal norms and collective efficacy for resilient communities.
With two forthcoming academic articles on point, the research team has already demonstrated how criminological evidence can challenge conventional wisdom, with findings that are also echoed by economic modeling experiments. Written in an accessible format designed to engage a general audience with an emphasis on public policy, this book will provide readers with insights from rigorous academic research to recast policy debates in the field. It will address issues that have proven resistant to empirical analysis, relying on vivid examples to demonstrate the importance and insights of drawing together these fields of inquiry in designing a broad and effective counter–terrorism policy.
7. The Future of Right-Wing Terrorism in Canada
Key Researcher: Richard Parent, Police Studies, Simon Fraser University
“The Future of Right-Wing Terrorism in Canada” is the logical extension of the immediately preceding TSAS project “Right-wing Extremism in Canada” (2014), which provided a historical overview of right-wing extremism and terrorism in Canada over the last 50 years and compared the current threat environment to those in the United States and Europe. This new project will address the Federal Government Partner Priority laid out by the RCMP- “Scenario Analysis of the Future(s) of Right-Wing Terrorism in Canada, in light of current trends in the USA and Europe.” Aside from the 2014 project, “The Future of Right-Wing Terrorism in Canada” will also draw upon research from the Metropolis BC project “Countering Radicalization of Diaspora Communities in Canada” (2011) as well as the ongoing TSAS Canadian Incident Database project. These building blocks will be combined with a framework used to compare attack frequency hypotheses to provide a shortlist of likely future scenarios of right-wing terrorism in Canada.
This project will move beyond comparing Canadian right-wing extremist organizations and individual radicals to provide a more general forecast of future violence based on recent changes within associated movements and networks. Given the strong connection with the issue of immigration, the forecasts will consider the interplay between rising right-wing terrorism and possible reciprocal radicalization of elements within Canadian immigrant communities. With a better understanding of this threat, leaders can develop effective, evidence-based policy for preventing future right-wing terrorism, including acts aimed at undermining the integration of immigrants within Canadian society.
The research questions for this project are: What is the range of likely scenarios for future right-wing terrorism in Canada, based on connections to radical movements in the US and Europe? Which factors or actions may mitigate the most likely scenarios? How might the future of Canadian right-wing terrorism be distinct from those of the US and Europe?
8. Terrorism financing in Canada: emergent risks and the effectiveness of existing mechanisms within Canada’s anti-terrorism financing regime
Key Researcher: Dane Rowlands, The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University
It is estimated that between C$5 billion and C$15 billion is laundered each year in Canada for criminal purposes, of which an undetermined portion relates to terrorism financing. Specific terrorist attacks often require minimal financial resources, while organized groups require substantially larger financial resources to support activities supplemental to attacks, such as recruitment and retention of personnel, propaganda, communications, intelligence and surveillance activity, and procurement of materials. Combating terrorist financing gained prominence after September 11, 2001, though its origins pre-date that attack and the emergence of financial intelligence units (FIUs) and multilateral efforts to inhibit access to finance and resources is evident from 1989 onwards.
The problem of terrorist financing is dynamic, with one observer noting that, like floodwater, illicit finance relentlessly seeks out cracks and vulnerabilities in the system (Simser; 2012, 51). In addition new methods of transferring and accessing resources pose diverse challenges to national and international authorities. This research involves an assessment of whether or not FINTRAC is equipped to address the existing and emerging challenges of terrorism financing up to 2020 with a view to determining if legislative amendments or policy changes may be required in the next five years.
The assessment of FINTRAC is based around two research sub-questions: (1) What criteria, metrics, or measures can be used, or developed, to assess the performance of the Canadian anti-money-laundering/counterterrorist- financing regime? And, (2) Is there a typology of criminal proceeds related to the financing of terrorism specific to Canada compared to other Western democracies? The research uses existing primary and secondary sources and will generate new data through a series of semi-structured interviews with experts on the subject (public and private sector). The project seeks to address known research questions and priorities identified by TSAS’ Government partner organizations i.e. FINTRAC. In addition, given the lack of reliable data on terrorism financing cases and empirical evidence the project involves both initial data collection to provide a baseline of information for further research (the typology) and an interdisciplinary approach to the question of metrics and effectiveness. We envisage two M.A. research students undertaking work for academic credit as a means to provide research input into the project, but also as a method to provide funding for student research that has credit-relevance for their academic program.
Early in 2013, TSAS had its first Call for Proposals. Ten project proposals were selected for research funding between April, 2013 and March, 2014. Each successful project is expected to generate at least one TSAS Working Paper and an accompanying Policy Briefing Note.
The Key Researchers for the following 10 project proposals presented their findings in Ottawa on May 30, 2014. Working papers are published in the digital library.
At a fundamental level, responding to the threat posed by terrorist radicalization is hampered by a paucity of baseline information. Most notably, the prevalence of extremist, and violent extremists, is unknown. The reason for this gap is straightforward: violent extremists represent the ultimately example of what is often referred to as “hidden” or “hard to count” populations. The solution to this problem is more daunting. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to establish a framework for answering these questions: How many extremists are there in Canada? And how many of these are potentially violent extremists? To this end, this research will a) identify various methods that have been proposed to estimate hidden populations generally; b) critically evaluate how these methods might be extended or adapted to estimate the number of extremists.
Public safety has been an important concern over the years. When a public event is held in an urban environment like Olympic games or soccer games, it is important to keep the public safe and at the same time, to have a specific plan to control and rescue the public in the case of a terrorist attack. In order to better position public safety in communities against potential threats, it is of utmost importance to identify existing gaps, define priorities and focus on developing approaches to address those. This project aims to make an extension to the GENIUS system, where crowd simulation will be included in the computational modeling framework for counter-terrorism planning and response. Based on swarm intelligence and agent-based modeling, we will create a model where the system can create a large number of people with specific behavioral characteristics. It is our goal to create a tool where operator can simulate a crowd of over 20,000 individuals. Police and other law enforcement officers can use this tool for training and operational simulation.
This project examines the dynamics of the fundamental political beliefs and values of newcomers to Canada. To what extent do the beliefs and values of immigrant Canadians match the dominant political orientations of the majority domestic-born population? What are the origins of those beliefs and values? How do they change as immigrants gain greater exposure to Canadian politics and society? The project focuses on views about: how society ought to be governed; the relationship between citizens and the state; and relationships between citizens. For each of these dimensions, two distinct empirical possibilities are considered. First, we assess the extent to which early political socialization in the country of origin shapes immigrants’ political outlooks by comparing the attitudes of immigrants from different countries of origin to those of the domestic-born Canadian population. The expectation is that if political attitudes formed in the country of origin persist after migration then immigrants from social, economic, and political systems that are dramatically different from Canada may hold distinctive political outlooks. Second, we assess whether exposure to Canadian politics and society influences the political attitudes of newcomers by comparing the attitudes of immigrants residing in Canada for various lengths of time to those of the domestic-born population. The expectation is that if immigrants adopt the dominant political attitudes of the domestic-born population as they gain exposure to Canadian politics and society, then well established immigrants are more likely than relative newcomers to hold political attitudes that are similar to those of the domestic-born population.
In recent years, eco-terrorism has become a new concern of many developed countries. The awareness of environmental preservation and protection is further sharpened by several large-scale natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina in the United States and the tsunami in South East Asia and in Japan last year. The tsunami in Japan led to a huge amount of deaths and the malfunctioning of a nuclear plant, which incurred worries of the general public and environmental groups about the safety of nuclear power. These situations are concerning, as in the past this type of tension has tended to radicalize environmental groups to turn violent against businesses, factories, and individual properties. To prevent eco-terrorism, it is important to understand the nature of the problem and design effective prevention strategies.
This proposed research will combine two academic disciplines, criminology and legal studies, to explore the extent of the threats of eco-terrorism in three countries–the United States, Canada, and Japan. First, we will explore and provide a detailed illustration of eco-terrorism up-to date, including the frequency, geographic distribution, target selection, choice of weapon, and extent of casualties. The second step is to conduct comparative legal analysis examining the antiterrorist laws and legal regulations regarding environmental development in these three countries.
Finally, the findings from both quantitative analysis and legal analysis will be used to form recommendation for modern countries to strengthen the responsive ability and resilience of their systems to the potential threats of eco-terrorism and hopefully deter future attacks from happening.
This research seeks to understand the causes and processes of Islamic conversion in Canada and determine the scale of Islamic conversion growth through this initial study of Islamic conversion in Ontario.
Canadian census data shows that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the country, and that although most of the Muslim population growth is related Muslim birth rates and migration, since 2001 the Muslim population has also increased as a result of religious conversions by non-Muslim Canadians. The growth in Islamic conversions has coincided with a period of increased Islamic missionary activity, and a rise in media coverage on Muslims and Islam following the attacks by Islamic extremists on September 11, 2001.
Canadian converts are interesting from a research perspective alone because there are literally no studies on Canada’s ‘new Muslims’ to date. Improving our general understanding of Islamic conversion is particularly important in the contemporary securitized milieu post 9/11. There is a trend for converts internationally to be statistically over-represented for involvement in terrorism relative to those who are “born Muslim.” A pattern observable in Canada as well as the UK, US and Australia.
To date, two terror plots involving converts have been disrupted in Canada (2006 and 2013), and Canadian converts such as Xristos Katsiroubas who was killed in Algeria on 16 January 2013 are active as foreign fighters overseas. Despite these events the reality is that the vast majority of converts do not become radicalized let alone turn to violence. Understanding the causes and processes of Islamic conversion in Canada is essential to avoid demonizing an entire group of people as potential terrorists on the basis of their religious choice. Especially when the majority of Muslim converts report improved sociability and self-esteem as a result of practicing their new religion.
Canada has extensive experience in dealing with domestic terrorism. Key examples include the Air India Bombing in 1985 by Sikhs living in Canada aspiring for a free KhaOstan; plots such as the Toronto 18, and the planned Ottawa Bombing (2011) and events linked to the University of Manitoba students (for example, Ferid Imam, Muhannad al-Farekh, Maiwand Yar and Hiva Alizadeh). This research project is an exploratory study designed to evaluate existing roles and activities of faith based and ethno cultural community-based organizations (FBCOs) in relation to domestic terrorism.
It begins with an examination of current federal and provincial government initiatives with regards to preventing domestic terrorism such as studying Muslim community responses. Informed by some initial examination of available literatures on domestic terrorism, the study directly identifies and assesses the current thinking, approaches and activities of grassroots Muslim faith and community based leaders with regard to domestic terrorism. The overall objective of this research is to identify initiatives that create the most useful foundation for community partnerships, community resilience and engagement to deal with the problem of radicalization leading to domestic terrorism. Specific research objectives are: 1) To map Muslim FBCO leaders’ perceptions on radicalization and violent extremism; 2) To understand the causes of domestic terrorism with particular emphasis on Muslim youth involvement; 3) To explore roles of FBCOs to build community resilience in transforming this conflict peacefully.
“Right-wing Extremism in Canada” will provide an initial, comparative assessment of the future prospects for right-wing political violence and terrorism in Canada. By comparing Canadian right-wing extremist organizations and individual radicals with those in the United States and Europe, policymakers and public officials can gauge the relative security threat posed by these groups and manage the unique challenges they create. This study will examine the history of right-wing terrorism and violent extremism, highlight recent changes within associated movements, and identify challenges in monitoring and managing this threat. The project will build upon previous research conducted for Metropolis BC – “Countering Radicalization of Diaspora Communities in Canada” (2011) – to examine the interplay between rising right-wing extremism and possible reciprocal radicalization of elements within Canadian immigrant communities. Through an examination of case studies and incident data, this project will provide contemporary research exploring rightwing anti-immigrant sentiment and other drivers. With a better understanding of this phenomenon, leaders can develop effective, evidence-based policy for preventing future right-wing extremist violence and terrorism, including acts aimed at undermining the integration of immigrants within Canadian society.
The research questions for this project are: What factors may promote violent right-wing extremism in Canada, and how is it connected to similar movements in the US and Europe? What impacts might this violence have on radicalization within other communities, and what strategies can security and intelligence organizations employ to detect or reduce violent right-wing extremism?
Since 9/11, the trend to integrating security professionals from different parts of the security bureaucracy and from different jurisdictions into the same institution has accelerated. Canada, like its allies, has created new integrated institutions designed to improve its ability to counter terrorism and protect national security. Among the most prominent of these are the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) which co-locate federal, provincial and municipal police with personnel from other federal security agencies. But how well do the INSETs work? Specifically, what are the effects of integration on how individual officers seconded to INSETs do their jobs, and how they see security? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the integrative model? How does integration influence efficiency (that is, the use of resources), effectiveness (that is, how well the institution works relative to its stated goals) and effects (that is, impact of INSET policies on politics and society). This project is part of a larger study that seeks to understand how changes in the structure of security policies, practices, and institutions since 9/11 affect the way we are governed, and the effects of such shifts on our understanding of public space, democracy, citizenship, and accountability. Comparing INSETs in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Alberta and Vancouver will allow me to draw conclusions about integrated security in Canada, but will also form part of a case study in the larger project which compares INSETs to Fusion Centers and JTTFs in the USA, and Counter Terrorism Units in the UK.
9. The Future(s) of Terrorism and Canadian National Security
Canada has not experienced a systematic terrorist campaign within its territory or against its national interests globally. Terrorists have, however, targeted Canada and Canadian interests on a regular basis. Historically, groups that have targeted the Canadian state spanned the typologies of terrorism –ideological, ethno-nationalist, religious, and single-issue. Groups or individuals supporting terrorist activity also continue to use Canada as a base for operations in terms of procurement, propaganda, and criminal activity. Specific terrorist groups can, and have, been defeated. Moreover the threat posed by discrete types of terrorism has declined in line with the nascent theories about how terrorism ends. Terrorism itself, in contrast, is never eradicated. Groups, as well as disaffected individuals, have opted to pursue violence for a wide variety of reasons and will likely continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Although terrorism is not going to disappear from the national security priorities of Canada the threat it poses will take different forms in the future. This project seeks to elucidate the possible futures of terrorism affecting Canada in the next 10 to 15 years. By nature the work is not predictive; rather it seeks to draw on trends across a variety of areas to focus on the possible implications for terrorism and the impact on Canada and Canadian interests. The principal research question is: What forms will terrorism take in the next decade and how will these different forms impact on Canada’s national security and its national interests?
Since the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, academic and media attention have focused on Islamic terrorism. Yet, threats come from different terrorist actors, like right-wing extremist groups and skinheads. Over the past decades, these movements have evolved towards more structured organizations, providing their members with ideological foundations and clear objectives and the necessary training to achieve them. Many of these movements are simultaneously affiliated with prominent right-wing groups, such as the Heritage Front. The use of violence, also an essential component of these groups unity, is often seen as a legitimate instrument within these formations to implement their extremist ideology, and is therefore encouraged. Although the prevalence of hate crimes is difficult to assess in Canada due to lack of systematic statistics, they are nonetheless a reality and many are the fact of skinheads, encouraged by extremist leaders throughout many vectors such as the Internet, group meetings and publications. Based on a series of participant observations, interviews with skinheads, chat-room content and document analysis, this project will explore and analyze skinhead radicalization in Quebec. We will identify landmarks and determining steps in these groups’ path towards violence. Not only will this project bring a theoretical contribution on a not yet studied phenomenon in Canada, for example with regard to the role, nature, techniques and prevalence of violence in such right wing groups, and how members use it, but also it will help identify practical tools to recognize and track potential skinheads formation before they act out.