Canada working toward Countering Violent Extremism

Ambassador to Sweden, Heather Grant, setting the stage for further discussions.

 Adel Elsayed Sparr, Committee Secretary, The National Coordinator Against Violent Extremism at CVE event.

Border police CVE event.

“Addressing violent extremism is a challenge that demands comprehensive action on many fronts and across society – and across borders. Everyone plays a part in keeping our communities safe. And collaborating with international partners and learning from others is key given that this is an issue which cannot be contained by traditional borders.”

Heather Grant, Ambassador of Canada to Sweden

Violent extremism has become a real concern in countries all over the world with a number of incidents of violence committed by people who have been radicalised.

While radical thinking is by no means a problem in itself, it becomes a threat to citizens, residents or groups that promote or engage in violence as a means of furthering their radical political, ideological or religious views.

International Cooperation

The Embassies of Canada to Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden hosted events in each respective country on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) to better understand the behaviour of radicalized thinking and help address the gaps between the strategic level and how things work on the ground.

The event in Stockholm gathered close to 60 guests including municipal CVE coordinators from around the country, representatives from the Stockholm Police and the Swedish Security Service, officials from three ministries and other government agencies, NGOs, and academics. Among the speakers were experts from Canada, Sweden, and the Netherlands who focused on practical approaches of CVE and how to move from strategy to implementation.

Some of the topics discussed included, foreign fighters and the motive behind radicalized thinking, how the threat from violent extremism has evolved in the Netherlands post 9/11 and prevention of crime and radicalization that leads to violent extremism.But before these dynamic conversations took place, Heather Grant, Canada’s Ambassador to Sweden set the stage:

  • In 2014, Canada suffered two terrorist attacks by lone-actors who had been inspired by extremist ideologies and radicalized to the point of violence. Since 2002, 20 individuals have been convicted of terrorism offences under Canada’s Criminal Code. Another 21 have been charged with terrorism-related offences (including 16 since January 2015) and are either awaiting trial or have warrants outstanding for their arrest.
  • Canada works toward Countering Violent Extremism at various levels. We have our national strategy - Building Resilience against Terrorism - which provides a framework for addressing domestic and international terrorist threats. The Strategy has four elements: Prevent, Detect, Deny and Respond. But success in this work requires the support and participation of all levels of government, civil society and, most of all, local communities and individuals:  in essence, as our theme today explores, moving from strategy to implementation.

The event in Stockholm was well received and built a solid base for discussions on CVE among key stakeholders and senior officials working within this field.

Together building resilience against terrorism

Success in this work requires the support and participation of all levels of government, civil society and, most of all, local communities and individuals. Raising awareness among youth and adults within local communities are important steps in preventing and countering violent extremism.

Canada will continue to engage and work with international partners and community representatives in order to build trust and partnerships. Families and community groups are the foundation of resiliency. Everyone plays a part in keeping our communities safe.

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