If We Can't Monitor Potential Terrorists 24/7, Jail Them: Tory MP

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OTTAWA — Conservative leadership candidate Tony Clement is proposing putting people at high risk of committing terrorist acts behind bars if they cannot be monitored around the clock.

"If they are so dangerous to the Canadian population that they deserve a peace bond slapped on them, I would put it to you that unless we can surveil them 24/7, they should be incarcerated,'' Clement told a news conference Monday in Ottawa.

The Ontario MP and former cabinet minister said the case of Aaron Driver, 24, a known terrorist sympathizer who was killed last month in a confrontation with police in Strathroy, Ont., showed the limits of court-ordered peace bonds to deal with people who have extremist ideas.

The RCMP has acknowledged that Driver, who was under a peace bond while he planned his thwarted terrorist attack with explosives, was not under constant surveillance and that it was a tip from U.S. authorities that alerted them to his plans.

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Tory leadership candidate Tony Clement said potential terrorists that can't be monitored should be jailed. (Photo: CP)

Clement said peace bonds are not enough unless security officials are able to monitor people 24 hours a day.

"If that is not possible, then I think the community interest and the national interest is there would be incarceration until they were no longer a threat,'' Clement said.

Clement said this would have to follow a judicial process — and be subject to judicial review — but said the details would be up to the courts.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said the Liberal government is searching for ways to make peace bonds more effective and has suggested mandatory counter-radicalization counselling for those under bonds is one option.

"If that is not possible, then I think the community interest and the national interest is there would be incarceration until they were no longer a threat."

Clement revealed his position while unveiling his proposed plan for increasing national security to protect Canada from terrorist threats at home and abroad.

"This terrorist threat is growing and those who have been radicalized or are radicalizing others need to be taken off the streets,'' Clement said.

The plan includes enhanced screening for immigrants and foreign nationals coming to Canada, which Clement noted was recommended by a June 2015 report from the Senate national security committee.

Clement said that would include setting up a pilot project to study the feasibility of using secure, face-to-face video conferencing with people applying to immigrate while still in their current country of residence.

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Tony Clement in July. (Photo: Althia Raj/HuffPost Canada)

Clement also recommended revoking the Canadian citizenship of dual nationals convicted of terrorism — something the Conservatives had brought in and the Liberals are currently attempting to reverse with Bill C-6, which is currently before the Senate.

He also proposed setting up an independent government agency to monitor the activities of all charities to make sure they are not contributing to terrorism or radicalization.

The plan also said Clement would "work with moderate mainstream Muslim Canadians to identify and counter the political-religious ideology fuelling Islamist fundamentalism.''

Clement was asked whether he had ever proposed some of these ideas when he was a cabinet minister in the previous Conservative government of prime minister Stephen Harper.

'This threat is not receding': Clement

"A lot has changed since we were in power. We've had the Paris attacks, the Brussels attacks, the Orlando attack and it illustrates this threat is not receding, it's growing,'' Clement said, adding that this is a plan he is now proposing as someone who is running to be leader of the Conservative party.

Clement spoke about the part of his plan involving enhanced screening for immigrants last week, when he was responding to a controversial idea from Conservative leadership rival Kellie Leitch to vet potential immigrants and refugees for what she calls anti-Canadian values.

Clement has said that idea is neither workable nor desirable.

On Monday, Clement spoke to the media about his 10-point plan on national security. Watch the conference below:

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