POLITICS

Steven Blaney to explain ISIS threat in Canada

10/08/2014 08:38 EDT | Updated 12/08/2014 05:59 EST
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney will discuss the threat posed by the Sunni jihadist extremist group ISIS to Canadians at home, when he addresses an open session of the House of Commons committee on public safety today.

Blaney will be joined by RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson and Michel Coulombe, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), in Ottawa.

Their appearance before the committee will come one day after Parliament voted to send CF-18 fighter jets to assist the U.S.-led air war in Iraq. 

Throughout the debate about the mission, the Canadian government has asserted that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as IS or ISIL, is a danger to people in Canada.

A government source tells CBC News the officials will outline the threat posed to Canadians from ISIS recruits who travel abroad and then return home. They will also describe the steps the government has taken to combat homegrown terrorism.

To date, there have been few details from the government about that possible danger. 

Officials say more than 100 Canadians have travelled overseas to fight for ISIS. What is unclear is how many of them continue to go over, and how many return and then pose a threat in Canada.

Last month, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced Canada will revoke the passports of ISIS recruits. But he didn't offer any numbers, and sources say they are unlikely to surface during Wednesday's presentations. 

The government has said its reluctance to give details stems from national security concerns. 

130 Canadians left, 80 returned: report

In August, Liberal MP Wayne Easter called on the public safety committee to launch a full-scale parliamentary inquiry into the national security threat posed by individuals who return to Canada after becoming involved with overseas terrorist entities, particularly ISIS.

He was reacting to a report released that month detailing more than 130 Canadians who had travelled abroad to join in terrorist activities and 80 individuals "who have returned to Canada after travel abroad for a variety of suspected terrorism-related purposes."

Easter noted the report also includes a reference to the "intervention program" being developed by the RCMP, which, in its words, "mobilizes community resources and local law enforcement to recognize and address individuals at the risk of becoming radicalized."

"Like other Canadians, I have heard recent reports by the CBC about Canadians participating in the actions of ISIS in Syria and Iraq," Easter writes. 

"I see such participation as being of critical and immediate concern."