The Situation Room – Deportation, not reintegration, for joining terrorist groups abroard

Mac Olsen


Should those who join terrorist groups abroard be automatically stripped of their Canadian citizenship and be denied repatriation?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared that anyone who returns to Canada from another country where they engaged in terrorist activities will have the opporutnity to be reintegrated into society.

“We are going to monitor them,” he said in the House of Commons on Nov. 21. “We are also there to help them let go of that terrorist ideology.”

I liken the Prime Minister’s pronouncement to giving aid and comfort to the enemy. It’s also like trying to appease and rehabilitate a rabid dog or wolf. Once they’re indoctrinated, there’s no possibility of “rehabilitating” them.

If someone leaves this country to join a terrorist group abroard, such as the Islamic State in the Middle East, then they’ve made their choice. Under these circumstances, their citizenship must be revoked and they must never be allowed to re-enter this country.

I watched a story on Global News last week, about a counselor who is working with someone who joined a terrorist group in the Middle East. This counselor gave details that his client has “survivor’s guilt” and that this person can be rehabilitated.

Well, good luck with that, given the psychology of terrorism and its indoctrination process.

Yes, there are opportunities for rehabilitation and redemption. A youth manipulated into stealing for an adult cannot bear the full consquences of the crime they committed.

The adult has to be reprimanded and penalized for their role and the youth offered counselling.

Certainly, family background and poverty can play a role in whether someone decides to become militant, terrorist or a criminal. Someone who has grown up in that environment and hasn’t had the opportunity for alternative opinions and viewpoints is vulnerable to extremist messages and propaganda.

Social media and Internet Service Providers have a responsibility to monitor and remove terrorist-related content, and to report it to law enforcement. And giving prospective terrorist recruits something positive to focus on in their lives is paramount.

So, indeed, there are things that can be done to keep prospective people from joining a terrorist cause or group. All the power to those who provide support and resources to intervene, before it’s too late.

But once you make the decision to become a terrorist and go overseas, well you’ve had your chance. You made your own choice and you have to live with the consequences.

Anyone who goes overseas to join a terrorist group that commits unspeakable crimes like blowing up civilians or beheading prisoners – there is no excusing or explaining away your membership in that heinous group. You are as guilty as they are, whether or not you participate in the acts.

Strip the citizenship anyone who goes overseas for terrorism and never allow them to return.

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