WATCH: Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney is heading to Washington where he’ll be touting the Conservatives’ newly-introduced anti-terror legislation. But here at home, the bill has come under fire. Vassy Kapelos reports.
WASHINGTON – The Canadian government plans to promote its new anti-terrorism legislation this week at an international summit organized by the White House.
The three-day Countering Violent Extremism conference will include academics, executives from social-media organizations including Google, law-enforcement officials from five dozen countries, the United Nations secretary-general and a pair of interventions by the host, U.S. President Barack Obama.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney will represent Canada.
A statement from Blaney’s office indicated Tuesday that he plans to discuss bill C-51 —just-introduced legislation which includes a provision for a maximum five-year prison sentence for advocating a terrorist attack.
Blaney’s office said he will reiterate Canada’s commitment to fighting jihadists. He will also outline measures the government has taken to protect Canadians against terrorists “who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world in which to live.”
“These measures include criminalizing the promotion of terrorism,” said the statement, in reference to C-51.
Blaney will attend on the final day, Thursday, which is to have a more international focus. The first two days of the conference are mainly dedicated to local efforts in U.S. cities.
The White House describes the conference as a knowledge-sharing event. The goal is to discuss various strategies that have worked, and failed, at keeping youth from becoming radicalized.
“The government does not have all the answers in combating violent extremism,” an administration official said in a pre-conference briefing.
“It is, at its core, a bottom-up approach. It puts communities with civic leaders, with religious authorities, with community power-brokers, teachers, health providers, et cetera, in the driver’s seat. They know their citizens best.”
The White House stressed that the community-based approach is just one aspect of fighting terrorism and groups such as ISIS — and one official said it’s an aspect that doesn’t get much attention.
“I think we need to be realistic that this is a long-term investment,” the official said. “This is a comprehensive effort that we’re undertaking to get people to be educated about the problems, to be aware about the issues, to figure out what role they can play.”
Vice-President Joe Biden opened the summit on Tuesday by saying that the U.S. needs to ensure that immigrants are fully included in the fabric of American society, to help limit the appeal of violent ideologies.
“National security flows from a sense of community,” Biden said, adding that the most important lesson the U.S. can learn is that “inclusion counts.”