On October 14, Canadian voters handed Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper his second minority government, one even stronger than his first. Harper vows to maintain the nation’s military commitment in Afghanistan through 2011, but his dedication to fighting radical Islam at home remains unclear.
Ezra Levant was one of those trying to keep those issues on the table while working the party’s “war room” during the campaign. Levant famously reprinted the Danish cartoons of Mohammed in his magazine, the Western Standard, back in 2006, an act that got him hauled before the Alberta Human Rights Commission for “Islamophobia.” That was Canada’s first real taste of Islamist “lawfare” tactics, and its most notorious next to similar charges brought against Maclean’s magazine and its columnist Mark Steyn.
Levant is optimistic about the prime minister’s commitment to fighting radical Islam on the domestic front.
“You might recall,” Levant told PJ Media right after the election, “that the 18 young Muslims arrested for plotting to blow up the CBC and CN Tower and behead the prime minister happened right after Harper was first elected. His response was not the typical politically correct response of having a photo-op with a radical imam.”
Rather, the Harper government refused to meet with, and thereby legitimize, radical groups like the Canadian Islamic Congress. Instead, the Conservatives pointedly visited Ahmaddiya and Ismaili Muslim communities, which tend to be more “educated, professional, charitable, liberal.”
According to one expert, however, the Harper government still has work to do on the anti-Islamist front.
David B. Harris directs the International and Terrorist Intelligence Program for INSIGNIS Strategic Research. He outlined the challenges facing the new government in the months ahead.
First, says Harris, the government must challenge “Islamist claims of real and substantial anti-Muslim behavior” — claims that simply don’t withstand scrutiny.
When radical Muslims succeed in “mainstreaming the victimization narrative,” this makes “the mainstream, including courts, vulnerable to demands for the most excessive of accommodations, accommodations that tend to reinforce any self-isolating, anti-integrationist inclinations — and the creation and existence of potentially dangerous parallel societies.”
Harris also calls on the Conservative government to ensure that radical Muslim groups “are never engaged in ‘outreach’ activity by police and security organizations.”
The hot-button issue of immigration is, next to socialized medicine, the most “untouchable” in Canada. Citizens imbibe the civic religion of “multiculturalism, tolerance, and diversity” beginning in elementary school. In spite of that, Harris is blunt.
“Immigration must be brought under immediate control,” he told PJ Media, “and no longer be viewed as a mere vote-importing mechanism” — the strategy the Liberal Party employed for generations to become, until recently, “the natural ruling party.”
Harris adds, “Bringing over a quarter of a million people a year into Canada is unconscionable in this threat environment, and it should be no surprise that our few thousand security officials are overworked.”
Whether or not Stephen Harper really has the mandate, let alone the fortitude, to address creeping Sharia, domestic radicalism, and Islamic lawfare remains to be seen. Like all politicians, Harper is interested primarily in getting reelected and eventually winning a majority government for his Conservative Party. This means not alienating Muslim voters or moderate liberals. Harper’s personal style, which is low key in the extreme, is intended to convey steadiness but often comes across as indifference. This in turn frustrates Canadians concerned about lawfare and creeping Sharia. (Ironically, the Canadians most vocal about those concerns tend to be Quebeckers — who historically vote Liberal and once again rejected Harper’s attempts to court them during this election.)
Muslims currently make up approximately two percent of the Canadian population, and the number who could be described as “radical” is far less. However, the radical few are able to generate considerable media attention. While their attempts to effectively “hijack” two magazines through the Canadian Human Rights Commissions ultimately proved unsuccessful, those cases had a chilling effect on journalists and moderate Muslims.
Not all moderate Muslims, however. Three of them recently met at a Quebec conference to discuss radical Islam and its infiltration of Canadian political parties, particularly the country’s number three party, the socialist New Democrats (NDP).
Author Tarek Fatah declared that he’d switched party affiliation from NDP to Liberal because, “in the last NDP leadership campaign, I was witness to an attempt by a group of wealthy Islamists to back one member of Parliament for the leadership, with the stated objective of controlling the party.”
While the NDP could never conceivably form a minority government, let alone a majority one, it is a highly vocal part of the official opposition, represents many of the nation’s most multicultural, urban ridings, and can make or break any anti-Islamist efforts the Conservatives may table in Parliament.
Add to that recent hints by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the country’s version of the FCC) that it hopes to start regulating the internet — the key medium for fighting Islamist ideas — and the future looks less encouraging all the time.
Ultimately, Canada’s fight against domestic Islamism is in the hands of dedicated, informed individuals, regardless of who happens to currently reside at 24 Sussex Drive.