After Charlottesville, Canada’s spy agency expresses ‘concern’ about far-right

By Clothilde Goujard
National Observer | August 22, 2017

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is expressing concerns about far-right extremism in the wake of a racially motivated protest in Charlottesville, Virginia that turned deadly.

A spokeswoman for the Canadian spy agency made the comments in response to questions from National Observer about reports that some Canadians participated in the Charlottesville protests, alongside neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and other white supremacist extremists.

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But a national organization that represents Canadian Muslims appears to have little confidence that Canadian authorities will crack down on far-right extremists. It also has doubts about whether Canadian agencies and police treat far right extremists with the same scrutiny applied to Canadians of Muslim faith.

“Muslims who aren’t in any way associated to extremism are being affected by watch lists, whereas the Charlottesville case illustrates that those Canadians who are not Muslim, who are participating in extremist rallies, appear not to be a concern and therefore not subject to any scrutiny or to any potential legal consequences,” said Amira Elghawaby, spokeswoman of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, in an email to National Observer.

“If a Muslim in Canada were to travel abroad to participate in extremist demonstrations, and was captured on film endorsing the extremist ideology and violent actions, such a person would be viewed by intelligence and law enforcement presumptively as a danger to national security in Canada and possibly as having already committed a criminal offence. They would likely be immediately placed on a watch list.”

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