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RCMP looks to close allies as it 'turns corner' on countering violent extremism

OTTAWA — The RCMP is turning to its closest allies for advice on countering violent extremists, prompting a leading expert to say Canada is finally making strides on addressing homegrown radicalism.

Lorne Dawson, a University of Waterloo sociology professor, helped the Mounties this week with an intensive session aimed at learning from experiences in Australia, Britain and the United States.

The meeting was planned long before the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris — assaults that have rekindled concern about extremist activity in Canada.

Dawson, co-director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, says he was pessimistic as recently as eight months ago about counter-radicalization efforts in Canada.

He says while the RCMP continues to lag behind allies, it looks like initiatives are finally on track.

Dawson now hopes the Liberal government will fulfil its promise of creating a federal co-ordinator on counter-radicalization — something he sees as a key ingredient for national success.

Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

The Canadian Press

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