October 6, 2017 8:30 am
Updated: October 6, 2017 2:18 pm

COMMENTARY: Edmonton terror attack was preventable. Is political correctness to blame?

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Terrorism has, once again, knocked on Canada’s door.

Though last weekend’s attack in Edmonton had no fatalities, Canadians should still be concerned.

From the method to the details about the alleged perpetrator, the incident has all the hallmarks of the so-called lone wolf attacks happening with alarming frequency across the world.

In this case, a police officer was repeatedly stabbed after being hit by a car that later rammed into four pedestrians.

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The accused in the terror attack, 30-year old Somalian national Abdulahi Sharif, was granted refugee status in Canada in 2012 while facing deportation from the United States.

When he hopped into his car to kill, Edmonton police say he brought along an ISIS flag.

This attack was entirely preventable. That is if the authorities had done their jobs.

Sharif should have been on the next flight back to Somalia when the RCMP learned he was promoting extremism and waxing poetic about genocide with a co-worker in 2015, the CBC reported. Instead, they conducted a cursory investigation but ultimately moved on.

Sharif wasn’t just a lone wolf, but a known wolf. Merely the latest in a troubling trend.

The terrorist who killed two young women in Marseilles, France last weekend was reportedly, like Sharif, a North African Muslim known to police.

Aaron Driver, the would-be terrorist killed while detonating a homemade bomb in a Strathroy, Ont. taxi last summer, was on a peace bond for supporting ISIS. Despite never renouncing his fondness for terrorism, he had enough freedom to plot and nearly execute an attack.

READ MORE: How was Aaron Driver able to plan out a terrorist attack while under a peace bond?

Manchester bomber Salman Abedi’s extremism got him referred to authorities no fewer than five times in as many years, before he killed 22 Ariana Grande fans. But nothing happened.

Regretfully, some people will fly under the radar and catch us by surprise, but it’s inexcusable that most of the Islamic terrorist attacks we’ve seen in the west in recent years have been by those from whom we should expect it.

Government failings can typically be distilled to either malice or incompetence. In this case, there’s no denying the role that political correctness plays. Governments are so busy downplaying the threat of Islamic jihad they haven’t gotten around to solving it.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement about the Edmonton attack didn’t mention “Islam” or “ISIS” at all, in fact, despite the clear ideological motivation for the attack.

After the attack on Parliament Hill in 2014, Trudeau (not yet the prime minister), took the opportunity to console Canadian Muslims, saying “acts such as these committed in the name of Islam are an aberration of your faith.”

Just two months after the Berlin Christmas market attack claimed 12 lives, Chancellor Angela Merkel reminded Germans that “Islam is not the source of terrorism.”

In 1940s Europe, you’d be hard-pressed to find Jewish leaders as eager to tell people “not all Germans are bad,” rather than addressing the ones who were.

READ MORE: Absence of criminal activity allowed Edmonton terror suspect to enter Canada despite U.S. deportation order

I agree with the fundamental sentiments expressed by Merkel and Trudeau: the majority of Muslims are not violent. But unlike them, I’m prepared to also acknowledge that radical Islam is a threat — one emboldened by poor immigration policies.

The Canadian government will announce its immigration target for 2018 in a few weeks.

A report from the Conference Board of Canada suggests we could handle 450,000 immigrants per year — a 50 per cent increase over our current annual intake of 300,000.

In a country of 36 million, 450,000 immigrants per year amounts to 1.25 per cent of the population. That may not sound like much, but it’s the same proportion of the population that Germany welcomed in through its migrant resettlement in 2015, when one million were admitted to the country of 80 million.

Ever since, the country has seen increased frequency of terror threats, as well as mass sexual assaults and even murders at the hands of migrants. The gravest examples occurred in Cologne and Hamburg when on Dec. 31, 2015, as many as 1,216 women were subjected to everything from groping to rape. Many of the suspected perpetrators were Arab and North African men.

I support robust immigration policies that allow for significant immigration into Canada. I am pro-immigrant, so long as shared values remain at the core of resettlement.

The importation of hundreds of thousands of people who potentially hold views on minority rights, women’s rights, and fundamental liberties that are at odds with the tenets of the welcoming country cannot and will not result in anything other than culture clashes.

Canada’s insulation from this European reality gives me hope that our screening systems do work, but the Sharif case tells us those systems aren’t perfect.

I’d hope that government would evaluate what went wrong, but instead, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has simply said the Edmonton attack “in no way indicates that Canada’s screening process needs to be enhanced or that the system failed.”

There’s a police officer with stab wounds in Edmonton who would beg to differ.

Andrew Lawton is host of The Andrew Lawton Show on AM980 in London and a commentator for Global News.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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