Hamilton racism social experiment ends with a punch | Toronto Star

More dramatic than polling on attitudes:

One man immediately pushes back:

“You know, you can’t stereotype and judge people by their clothes, or their nationality or anything else, you know what I mean? What happened there, it was incident of fanatics.”

A woman pipes up, too:“It was awful and tragic, but I don’t think that’s any reason to persecute someone just because what they’re wearing.”

But Giamou keeps making his case, eventually trying to physically remove his fellow actor. At that point, someone jumps to the Muslim man’s defence and slugs Giamou in the face.

After a brief clip that shows him talking to a police officer, Giamou, who has a bloody face, offers this conclusion:

“So the social experiment had a negative ending to it, but its positive because he stood up for him and I appreciate that, that’s good, that’s good.”

Hamilton racism social experiment ends with a punch | Toronto Star.

Peter MacKay suggests anti-terror laws don’t need major overhaul – Politics – CBC News

As the Government continues to consider what further changes, if any, are required to current legislation, some mixed signals:

… former public safety minister Stockwell Day warned hes hearing the government may try to eliminate the requirement that a judge sign off on such orders, giving discretion solely to the minister of public safety.

“One of the provisions Im hearing about, I don’t know if its accurate yet, is there may be a provision for a minister like myself to sign for [preventive] arrest, and not having it countersigned by a judge,” he said in an interview on CBC Radio’s The Current.

“I’ r always appreciated the balance [of both judge and minister signing] for preventive arrest and wiretaps … I would take a close look at that if a judge’s [signature] is no longer required,” Day added.

Without getting into specifics, MacKay seemed to dismiss that idea, “We’re not going to upset that balance that requires police to make that very important evidentiary determination.”

“I always would come down on the side of judicial oversight before you would make any interventions,” MacKay added.

MacKay also said the government is looking for ways to crack down on those who encourage terrorist acts online. “There’s no question that the type of material that is used often to recruit, to incite, and the word I don’t particularly like … but, glorification,” he said, adding he’s looking closely at legislation in the United Kingdom on this topic.

Day believes the legislation will “talk about things like, those who support calls on terrorists to attack Canadians or to kill Canadians, those who support groups who are calling for attacks on Canadians.’”

Peter MacKay suggests anti-terror laws dont need major overhaul – Politics – CBC News.

And the information and privacy czars pick up on the point that any increased powers should be matched by increased review and oversight.

If you step up police powers to fight terrorism, make watchdogs more powerful, privacy czar tells Tories

Similarly, a note of caution not to rush things from former judges, Frank Iacobucci, John Major and Dennis O’Connor:

Panel of judges urges caution in passing new anti-terror laws

Adam Chapnick has a thoughtful piece on the challenge of managing our reactions to terror:

As a professor of defence studies, I know all too well that it’s impossible to stop every ‘lone wolf’ with a gun or a bomb. No measure enacted by any government can guarantee our safety.

It follows that the national conversation led by our parliamentarians over the next few weeks cannot be about terrorism. It must be about managing the terror that Canadians feel.

We need calm reassurance, not more calls to be fearful. We need to see unity of effort and purpose among all of our MPs — not the divisive, fearmongering partisanship to which we have grown far too accustomed.

The debate must last as long as is necessary to enable all interested Canadians — not just supporters of the government — to understand what new measures are being exacted, and why.

It must shape a degree of consensus over the extent to which we are willing to surrender the freedoms we hold so dear in order to feel more comfortable on our streets and in our homes.

Terrorism is a state-level problem — but terror itself is personal. Let us hope that our elected representatives understand the difference as we move forward.

The real problem isn’t terrorism. It’s terror (pay wall)


The evolving acceptance of dual citizenship – LA Times

Peter Spiro on dual citizenship and the question of potential dual loyalties in the US context. Agree with him mostly, and reflects the Canadian approach, but no discussion of where some of the dual loyalty issues lie (e.g, violent extremism, foreign military service):

Recent efforts to enforce the renunciation oath have gone nowhere because the advantages of dual citizenship cut across a variety of politically powerful constituencies. Our new citizens deserve a revised oath reflecting contemporary realities. In the meantime, the archaic phraseology wont stop many from holding on to their original nationality.

And shouldnt they? Citizenship is an important part of individual identity. Theres no reason it needs to be exclusive. Those of us who are U.S. citizens also have other associations: religions, civic institutions, advocacy groups. That some of us belong to other nations doesnt undermine our capacity to be good Americans.

The evolving acceptance of dual citizenship – LA Times.

The EKOS poll: Fear fades — values endure

Ekos - Law Enforcement and TerrorismFrank Graves of Ekos on public opinion regarding the threat of terrorism:

  • Virtually all responses made by Western governments to the threat of terrorism in the 21st century have been deemed failures in hindsight. Almost universally, the public sees these past interventions as having yielded nothing but a more dangerous world.
  • Overwhelmingly, Canadians want to see their leaders re-think their reliance on military and security-oriented approaches to the terrorist threat, in favour of approaches more in keeping with our core values as a nation.
  • Canadians have lost faith in the security agenda which says the problem can solved by restricting civil liberties even further, and want to see our leaders place more emphasis on the traditional tools of diplomacy and development.

The EKOS poll: Fear fades — values endure (pay wall)

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act: Revocation – Coming into Force

No surprise. We shall see what the current court challenge rules (Rocco Galati launches lawsuit over Citizenship Act changes):

The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act which received Royal Assent on June 19, 2014, included new grounds to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason or spying offences, depending on the sentence received. The changes also enable the government to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens for membership in an armed force or organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada.

The technical amendments to the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act under the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act will allow the revocation and related provisions to come into force earlier than anticipated. These changes will help protect the safety and security of Canadians, and honour the contributions and sacrifices of those who serve Canada by ensuring those who are convicted of such crimes against Canada do not benefit from Canadian citizenship. Revocation is an important tool to safeguard the value of Canadian citizenship and to protect the integrity of the citizenship program.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act: Revocation Provisions – Canada News Centre.

Kent Roach and Craig Forcese: Putting CSIS surveillance on a firmer legal footing

Hard to disagree:

A smarter bill would link the enlargement of CSIS’s powers with better Parliamentary review. It also would address more integrated review of how CSIS’s actions affect terrorism policing and investigations. The Air India commission proposed that this difficult task be handled by a National Security Co-ordinator, but the government rejected this fix.

In sum: The government deserves credit for a legal initiative that will put CSIS extraterritorial surveillance on a more clear legal footing, clearly acknowledges a judge may violate international and foreign law in authorizing this surveillance, and that will protect CSIS sources, subject to an innocence-at-stake exception (in criminal proceedings, at least).

In so doing, it squarely puts on the table important policy issues that should be debated in full. But along the way, it will be useful to add more to the “accountability” side of the “reform of CSIS” ledger.

Kent Roach and Craig Forcese: Putting CSIS surveillance on a firmer legal footing

Australians support immigration and multiculturalism

CIC Tracking - Support for ImmigrationComparable to Canadian levels of support (see chart above):

The study titled 2014s Mapping Social Cohesion report by Scanlon Foundation which surveyed over 24,000 people reported strong public support for immigration intake and the benefits of multiculturalism. ”

Australia’s public sentiment toward immigration intake is possibly the most positive in the western world. In 2014, 58 per cent of people agree that the immigration intake is about right or too low. Just 35 per cent of people consider that the immigration intake is too high,” the Foundation said in a statement.

“This level of public support is somewhat surprising in the context of rising unemployment and other economic concerns, as well as international comparisons,” said report author Andrew Markus of Monash University.

“In 2014, American and European surveys have found disapproval of immigration in the range of 60 to 75 per cent,” he said.

Support for multiculturalism was also high at 85 percent (“been good for Australia”) but discrimination remains an issue with some 18 percent of respondents reporting experience of discrimination.

Australians support immigration and multiculturalism: Study – The Economic Times.

Islam and hadiths: Sifting and combing

Point well made in The Economist on religious and scriptural interpretation, and whether or not they lead to moderation:

Mr [Jonathan] Brown [author of Misquoting Muhammad] takes particular issue with The Economist for predicting that the information age will undermine the authority of old-time scholars and revolutionise the way in which ideas about Islam’s core teachings are formed. Given his fascination with long intellectual traditions, the author insists that nothing good can come of people going straight to texts which can foster extremist ideas unless they are leavened by scholarly wisdom.

In our defence, it is an already observable fact that electronics are making it much easier for ordinary Muslims, or self-taught “experts”, to bypass the older authorities and come to their own judgements on what their holy texts say and how they should be read. And as The Economist writing on the subject has made clear, this change can have bad consequences as well as good. Amateur theologians, bent on bypassing the professionals, can come to enlightened conclusions or appalling ones, such as the gimcrack theology used to justify acts of mega-terror by al-Qaeda or Islamic State.

However it’s also worth pointing out that neither conscientious scholarship nor participation in a centuries-old chain of editing and learning are foolproof guarantees of moderation. True, scholarly activities like hadith-sifting can sometimes help to mellow a religion. But remember, too, that the leaders of the Iranian revolution, who raised the standard of militant political Islam in the modern world, included many conscientious scholars.

Islam and hadiths: Sifting and combing | The Economist.

Omnibus budget bill restricts refugee access to social assistance

Whether or not you agree with the restriction (given that the major changes to the refugee system have dramatically reduced the numbers claiming refugee status, hard not to see this as more ideologically driven than based upon evidence), it is abuse of Parliament to include this measure (along with far too many others) in the Omnibus Budget Bill.

Not the first government to stuff budget bills with measures that should be debated and reviewed separately (Liberals under Chrétien started the trend), but as the Globe editorial notes, this government has taken this to new lows –Harper’s Ottawa is Omnibusted):

Although he did not take issue with the timing, New Democrat MP Craig Scott said the government uses omnibus bills precisely to avoid scrutiny of controversial provisions like the refugee social assistance cuts.

Scott called the social assistance and health care cuts “a one-two punch,” aimed at discouraging vulnerable, desperate people from finding their way to Canada and claiming refugee status, even though many claimants turn out to be genuine refugees.

“It suggests to me that they are pursuing the Fortress Canada approach to refugees to the nth degree,” said Scott, adding that the NDP will press the government to split the refugee provision from the budget bill.

“We want this pulled, simply because it’s frankly so offensive that they can’t justify the substance, let alone how they’re doing it.”

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander defended the notion of restricting refugees access to social assistance in essentially the same language the government used to justify limiting their access to health care.

“Canada has the most fair and generous immigration system in the world,” said Kevin Menard.

“However, Canadians have no tolerance for those who take unfair advantage of our generosity.”

Menard added that allowing provinces to impose minimum residency requirements would build on the savings already racked up as a result of reforms to the refugee asylum system, which he pegged at $1.6 billion over five years.

He stressed, however, that it’s up to each province to decide whether to impose minimum periods of residence to qualify for social assistance.

Deputy Liberal leader Ralph Goodale called the governments latest move on refugees the product of a “nasty, vindictive and irresponsible” ideology.

Omnibus budget bill restricts refugee access to social assistance – Politics – CBC News.

More articles on radicalization of interest

Ongoing amount of reporting and commentary on radicalization and fundamentalism.

Starting with Premier Couillard’s measured (i.e., not rushing it) legislation requiring faces to be uncovered when giving or receiving government services, and what initiatives, if any, are planned with respect to non-violent fundamentalists inPhilippe Couillard promet d’agir sur lintégrisme religieux | Politique québécoise.

More meetings within the Muslim community in Montreal, reminding of the need for measures to improve the economic integration as part of any anti-radicalization in L’intégration plutôt que la stigmatisation.

CBC report on Self-radicalized and adrift: The shared traits of the ‘lone wolf’ killers discussed the commonalities but with experts (Dawson, Zekulin) noting correctly that there is no one pattern for those drawn to violent extremism.

For those interested, a fairly good overview of the respective roles and responsibilities of the security agencies involved in countering radicalization in Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau: How Canada tracks homegrown radicals.

And while only one “slice” of those radicalized, Maclean’s discusses issues related to converts as many extremists are in Islam’s conversion problem, echoing Imam Soharwardy’s call for more “vetting” by mosques of those wishing to convert (Prominent Muslim cleric urges imams to vet new Islamic converts).