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The Threat Environment

There are many terrorist organizations active within Canada's borders. Their presence can be attributed to Canada's proximity to the United States, one of the world's pre-eminent terrorist targets, but also to the fact that Canada is an attractive place to live and do business because of its openness, and its respect for human rights and freedoms. With so many terrorist groups in Canada, people might wonder why the media are not reporting the occurrence of serious violence in Canada on a regular basis. While some Canadians have been victims of large-scale terrorist attacks-most notably in the 1985 bombing of an Air India flight from Toronto and the 2001 destruction of New York's twin towers-Canada, as a country, has not often been targeted specifically for attack. For this reason, many people have come to equate terrorism with the violence and tragic events that occur in foreign countries.

The most visible aspect of terrorist activity is physical violence; however, the absence of violence here at home does not mean the absence of terrorist activity. Most activities in Canada support actions elsewhere linked to homeland conflicts, and are relatively subtle in nature. These activities include:

  • providing a convenient base for terrorist supporters and operatives;
  • fundraising;
  • lobbying through front organizations;
  • propagating hate and ideologies that incite and perpetuate violence;
  • recruiting fighters for wars and conflicts abroad;
  • procuring weapons and materiel;
  • coercing and manipulating immigrant communities;
  • facilitating transit to and from the United States and other countries, and
  • other illegal activities.
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