Federal government not tracking interventions with returning ISIS fighters
Public Safety pays for interventions, but doesn’t know how many
By Evan Dyer, CBC News
Turning radicalized individuals away from extreme ideologies and helping them rejoin Canadian society is a key goal of the federal government, but it has little data on how well that fight is going.
The new Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence is supposed to be on the front line of this fight. It funds research and programs that “aim to prevent and counter radicalization to violence at the individual level.”
But the government doesn’t know how many radicalized people are actually being spoken to, or who they are. Public Safety Canada says it can’t provide statistics because the centre does not directly intervene with radicalized individuals.
Moreover, the groups the centre funds tend to focus on research over action.
“My fear is that we’re almost researching this thing to death,” said former CSIS officer Phil Gurski, author of the book Western Foreign Fighters.
Six projects are paid for by a public safety fund through the Canada Centre under the heading “action-oriented research.” None carry out interventions with radicalized individuals.
Four more projects fall under the heading of “direct intervention/prevention programming,” but it remains unclear why they are categorized as such.
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