06/27/2012 11:26 EDT | Updated 08/27/2012 05:12 EDT

Tory MP John Baird Says Canadian Virtues Key To Fighting Terrorism


OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says countering extremism means telling the world that Canada is open, diverse and inclusive.

In a speech to a United Nations forum on terrorism, Baird says trumpeting Canada's respect for principles of freedom and human rights will help conquer extremist propaganda.

He says Canada will work with like-minded countries to stabilize fragile states and limit the conditions that allow violent extremism to breed and spread.

He stresses that Canada will advance the issue through research and dialogue — including work with the new Global Counterterrorism Forum, a multinational body spearheaded by the United States.

Canada has also started the Kanishka Project — named after the Air India 747 jet destroyed by a terrorist bomb in 1985 — to research pressing questions on extremism.

The research program was recommended by former Supreme Court judge John Major, who led a commission of inquiry into the bombing.

Major's report also urged fundamental changes to intelligence handling, criminal prosecutions and aviation security.

Subsequently, the federal government promised to streamline terrorism trials, make the witness protection program work better and improve the flow of information about extremist financing.

However, it rejected the key recommendation of a beefed-up national security adviser to settle disagreements between the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.