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Several extreme right-wing groups should be considered a national security threat: researcher

The Wolves of Odin in Edmonton are a surrogate for the Soldiers of Odin, a controversial anti-immigrant group. In a rally in Edmonton, the group clashed with counter-protesters. (CityNews Edmonton)

'The extreme right is more of a threat than Islamists': researcher

'The broader population should try to think of meaningful ways to open up critical dialogue': researcher

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is warning Canadians about a rise among hate groups like white supremacists and neo-nazis in this country.

Goodale said those groups promote hate, which manifests itself in violent anti-Semitism or in other crimes.

He used the van attack along Yonge Street in Toronto last year in which 10 people died as an example. He also cited the six people who were murdered inside a Quebec City mosque in 2017 because they were at prayer.

Goodale said these evil deeds were inspired by what the perpetrators saw on the internet.

He says the federal government is working with internet providers to eliminate problem content.

Ryan Scrivens researches right-wing extremism at Concordia University.

He agrees that these groups are a threat, but noted the message is in contrast to the reports on national security threats in Canada that were headed by Ralph Goodale.

“The extreme right is more of a threat than Islamists for example, but I think that if we are going to have discussions around terrorism and extremism, we cannot just minimize it or limit it to just IS (Islamic State), Al Qaeda, or Boko Haram or those things.”

Scrivens would like to see C-SIS identify right-wing extremism as a national security concern.

“He said that right-wing extremism is a threat but they didn’t say that it was a national security threat. They also made the mischaracterization, that we’d argue, ‘that right-wing extremism is not associated with criminal behaviours,” Scrivens said. “My question to him would be ‘what are we talking about in terms of a threat?’ We would argue that they are a national security threat and at the very least we would argue that they are a threat to communities all across Canada.”

Scrivens believes the extreme-left in Canada is a reaction to the extreme-right and there are things we can all do to improve the situation.

“The broader population should try to think of meaningful ways to open up critical dialogue with perhaps others that have different viewpoints than us.”

With files from the Canadian Press