Terrorism Essay


Terrorism originates from the word terror which means to coarse or forcing someone to do something. The definition of terrorism has not been standardized but it can be described as the action taken by an unknown individual to intimidate a particular government by attacking its citizens so as it can adhere to his or her demands. Terrorism is not war because terrorism avoids attacking state enterprises. Once they hit state enterprises then it becomes a war. Terrorists only target areas where general innocent citizens reside. The main objective of a terrorist is to get his demands fulfilled by instilling fear in the people. Terrorist use very many methods like: kidnapping, hijacking, biological weapons and bombings. Kidnapping is the act of forcefully taking and confining someone. It is always against the will of the individual and the kidnappers always want something in return. Hijacking is taking over major transport systems like trains, airplanes, ships and vehicles in demand for something. Biological terrorist attacks involve the use of deadly disease causing chemicals like viruses and bacteria. One common chemical used is anthrax. Lately, use of nuclear bombs has increased in terrorist attacks. They completely destroy a building and kill very many people (Ariely, 2003).

October crisis in Canada, Québec

5th October 1970, saw Canada experiencing a crisis that was brought about by the terrorist attack group known as Front de liberation du Québec (FLQ). The group was known for its terrorist attacks as it was responsible for 200 deaths due to bombing before the crisis. They were guided by the Marxist way of doing things which was mainly socialism. During the ordeal, they kidnapped James Cross who was the Trade Commissioner of Britain. They also kidnapped and killed Pierre Laporte who was then the Minster of labor. He was killed because he had refused to give in to their demands. The FLQ were encouraged to increase the number of people to support their act by holding meetings involving the public. This saw the closure of French academic institutions mainly the secondary and post-secondary schools. A rally supporting FLQ was held by 3000 students at that time. The FLQ had their own demands before they released the Trade Commissioner, James Cross. First, they wanted twenty three politicians released form prisons, allowed to move to other regions from Québec, police were not to search anyone during the operations, families of the politicians were to be allowed to meet them outside the province, aircrafts were to be brought and allow them to go to Cuba and they also demanded gold worth five hundred thousand dollars and the wanted their manifesto to be published and broadcast (Maloney, 2000).

During the October crisis, the Canadian government was obliged to come up with ways to counter terrorism. Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister then, saw the need of the government setting up stronger laws of to avoid social excuses to making terrorist attacks. Later, though, he suggested that the War Measures Act had to be considered in meeting the FLQ’s demands. The biggest problem was that it was contradicting with the Canadian Bill of Rights that was guided by the Humphrey’s rights and privileges.

War Measures Act

The War Measures Act was used by Trudeau after being granted permission by the Premier of Quebec and the Montréal mayor. The Act granted the government permission to use sweeping emergency powers. The police used the emergency powers to arrest and detain FLQ supporters and members. The operation was done from house to house.  More over, there was military deployment to protect the people who were at risk of being attacked by the terrorist group. They were put to protect areas that were seen to be very vulnerable to FLQ’s attacks. All this was done within the province of Québec. This action gave the police the mandate to continue with their search intensely (Maloney, 2000).

The Act was also employed in other areas apart from Québec. Military troops were deployed in Ottawa to protect all the government employees and enterprises. This strong movement led to the War Measures Act being implemented. It allowed for legal ways to deal with those arrested and detained. They were tried and the innocent people were released and paid damages. Those who were found guilty of terrorist crimes were jailed without bail. These led to the release of James Cross and the arrest of Laporte murders (Maloney, 2000).

Canada counter-terrorism after the October crisis

After the October crisis, the Canadian government had to come up with very strong policies to avoid terrorist attacks within and outside its country. In 1984, the responsibility of coming up with counter-terrorism was given to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). There major responsibility was to conduct investigations and make sure that they prevented any domestic violence that was rampant between the 1980’s and 1990’s. The causes of these attacks were related to religion especially Islam, political differences especially in India, the Middle East and Ireland. Other groups who were against particular rights like abortion and globalization posed as terrorist threats (Maloney, 2000).

The September eleventh bombing of the American World Trade Centre contributed to Canada’s formulation of more policies to deal with terrorist attacks. There was a possibility that terrorists would use Canada to attack America thus the policies had to be made and implemented. This was to prevent further terrorist attacks in America and the fact that Canada would become a target to the terrorists (Lentini, 2007).

The policy does not only involve the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency only but also numerous agencies and departments in the federal government. The CSIS is now responsible in advising on matters concerning national security and it uses intelligence investigations on terrorism. The policy has seen that the first priority is the safety of the general public. For this reason the CSIS resources in investigation has been diverted to ensuring public safety. Previously, more resources were used in investigations of terrorist methods and less was used in counter-terrorism methods (Lentini, 2007).

The CSIS organization has the Threat Assessment Unit that is responsible of investigating, collecting and evaluating information concerning both local and international terrorism. The information always reaches the government for the necessary action to take place. One of the major actions to counter-terrorist attack in Canada is the great security that is around Canada-America boarder. Previously, the boarder had no security for a very long time and this made America to be prone in terrorist attacks. The rules concerning the boarder are normally set by the Citizenship and Immigration, and Transport centre in Canada. Today, there is intense search of vehicles and any one who uses the boarder. The American government is has joined Canada in imposing safety measures around the boarder (Lentini, 2007).

 Whenever Canada is asked to host an international event, the department is responsible of gathering the necessary information on chances of the event being an easy way for terrorists to attack. The immigration and citizenship centre together with the CSIS have enhanced the levels of security by making rules on thorough screening of refugee and citizenship applicants. The review process of both law breakers and applicants of Canadian citizenship has been perfected. This has made the processes of either deporting or approving them very fast and sufficient. If an application is rejected, an applicant has a tough time in appealing because the rights to appeal have been restricted. Such applicants are usually given the reason of national security. If an applicant is found to have associated with any group of terrorism then he or she is rejected immediately. It also leads to deportation of foreign individuals who associate to any Canadian terrorist groups (Kirby, 2007).

Efforts of Canada to counter-terrorism is seen when it was among the first countries to use the United Nation security Council’s Resolution 1373 (2001). The council needed countries to involve themselves in preventing and suppressing terrorism. Countries which were members of the United Nations were expected to implement barriers in supporting terrorists like funding them, allowing them to from organizations and movements. Countries were expected to share information among them regarding any terrorists. Information on methods to counter-terrorists was also to be shared. Every country was expected to come up with laws that were strictly against terrorism in that, Acts against terrorism were to be implemented and made known to citizens. This would ensure strict sentence of anyone who was involved in terrorism. Every country was to set up strict immigration laws. Refugees and citizenship applicants were to be screened thoroughly before they were allowed in any country. To ensure that countries were abiding by these requirements, the Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee was introduced (Kirby, 2007).

Canada ensured that it had an Act against terrorism; Antiterrorism Act. It was discussed in parliament and later passed. It led to the amendments in the Criminal Code whose aim was to make restrictions regarding financing of terrorist activities from Canada. The Act also had a restriction on terrorists when it came to ownership of property in Canada. Better technology and power was imposed in the counter-terrorist departments like CSIS and RCMP. They had better and more powerful surveillance methods. It led to very strict control of the purchase and ownership of weapons such as firearms (Kirby, 2007).

The Immigration laws were not left out when it imposed strict surveillance of ensuring that deportees reached their destination without escaping. The Immigration Act led to searching and seizing powers at the border stronger. This Act was later rejected claiming that it reduced civil liberty thus the formation of a new Act; Public Safety Act. The Act involved making sure that the general public had clear and full information about terrorism. The public was expected to know how terrorist act, there methods and how one could report them (Kirby, 2007).

Canada has been able to increase its airport surveillance system following the Air India and the September eleventh bombing. Airport security has increased to prevent set up of bombs in the country, kidnappers accessing planes and basically passage of terrorists from other countries. Restrictions regarding the airport security are normally made by the Transport Canada. There enforcement is the duty of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. There is adverse use of current technology to detect any weapons that an individual can be carrying. For instance the use of x-ray machines to detect any metals and weapons. To detect explosives an equipment known as the explosive trace detection (ETD) is normally used. Passengers are normally searched physically but randomly before they get to the screening board. Bags are physically checked but they are passed through x-ray machines, ETDs, CTX machines, and high resolution x-rays. Today, there are new passes that are used by airport employees. The passes have the biological information of employees for example, iris and fingerprint scan. The new passes have replaced the old passes that were used as Airport Restricted Area Passes. There is a plan for expanding its use in vehicles that are within the airports perimeter. This is to monitor the people who use entrance at the checkpoints. Airports have very many security guards. For maintenance of their employees to practice major surveillance techniques, CATSA, contracts trainers from Aeroguard and Garda (Bell, 2004).

There are surveillance cameras and other machines in shops, malls and other areas that are considered to be a target of any kind of criminal attack. People are advised to put up surveillance cameras in their shops for the sake of storing information that can help in identifying criminals and more so terrorist. It is evident to find these cameras every where at airports and other major entries in the country. To counter terrorism, Canada has surveillance and security methods in marine transportation. The surveillance of its water vessels is tracked all the time. It has machines to detect other vessels that are approaching its harbor. Crew members and passengers are always subjected to searching before they board the vessels. For vessels to be detected they must have the Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and they must adhere to the international requirements. For security purposes, Canada also instills new equipments that are used to detect and screen vessels for any weapons. Another implementation at the shipment areas is to put up new scanning containers. VACIS, which is mobile, is a trucking machine that has a mounting gamma ray scan system. It is very good in capturing images and contents in the ship especially cars, rails and trucks (Bell, 2004).

The government has a plan to fund RCMP which is an emergency response team. It is to implement better ways to investigate major areas in the port. It is also responsible in dealing with illegal immigrants in the country, weapons, drugs and enhancing national security. It is guided by the fact that it has to prevent terrorist attacks at the port. It is said that over the years, more funds will lead to the perfection of the surveillance services by the RCMP (Kirby, 2007).

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has recently been given the mandate to obtain warranties from judges to search anyone who is suspected of terrorism. It uses the electronic surveillance system to search suspects of terrorism. Other methods used are: intercept mail and wiretaps. For security purposes, the Canadian Security Establishment uses the new law of eavesdropping. This is surveillance of communication between individuals (Kirby, 2007).

Canada has formed coalitions to fight terrorism. It is evident for the CSE has been cooperating with other countries to spy on any terrorists. This includes working with America’s National Security Agency. The Minister of defense gives the Agency the mandate to carry out its activities. The authorization leads the agency to carry out its surveillance activities by looking at e-mails or phone calls that can be linked to terrorism. The agency gets approximately six authorizations from the National Security Agency in America annually (Ariely, 2003).

The use of surveillance to counter-terrorism has increased in Canada but it posses a risk to the Canadians’ privacy. Therefore this sees the need to come up with regulations as to where they can be used. The citizens should have information where the surveillance cameras are situated to avoid laws suits and disputes that can lead to libel and slander. It is important to have a written policy for the sake of legal support of the gadgets. There must be total security and assurance of the images from the surveillance cameras and videos (Ariely, 2003).

In the fight against terrorism, the Canadian government in June 2005 launched a security website. This was to educate people on the movements of terrorists. More so, it educates on how they can defend themselves when they find themselves in the terror attack. It is also responsible in educating Canadians on the new government policies to ensure that there is total prevention of such attacks. It lists all the machines that are used for surveillance. It also educates people on their rights when they are wrongly accused of terror attacks. The security website is responsible for ensuring that all technology used in counter terrorism is highlighted and well explained. This information system allows Canadians to see the effects of terrorism thus discouraging young people in engaging in terrorist attacks. The website is mainly for raising awareness on terrorism (Ariely, 2003).

The government of Canada has ensured that it has put up a strong organizational structure in establishing the intelligence and surveillance unit. It has joined up with other countries to ensure that its intelligence unit acquires foreign and better ways of dealing with terrorist attacks. The intelligence and surveillance unit is assessed every time to see if follows the current ways of dealing with terrorism. This involves constant training of its employees on methods of detection and dealing with terrorists. When investigations are carried out, there is good analysis of the probable causes and ways of attacks. For instance it has the capacity to investigate the chances of an event to bring about terrorism. The wisest move of Canada is forming allies in fighting terrorism. It has joined up with countries such as America and other world wide countries in fighting terrorism. Canada is used to enhance peace in the world. For this reason, it is said that Canada will help the Islamic countries who have formed a coalition to fight terrorism in meeting their needs and concerns. Canada is seen as a neutral country. It is said to have a potential to give advice concerning any Taliban issues. Canada is said to be tired of the terrorist attacks and its major aim now is to make sure that peace survives around the world thus the reasons for counter-terrorism (Ariely, 2003).


Terrorism affects every one so it is the responsibility of each individual to assist its government in counter-terrorist attacks. The government has the responsibility of educating its citizens on terrorist methods. At the same time counter-terrorism methods are not to deprive people of their civil liberty and social life or privacy. The government should ensure that people still have control of their personal life.


Ariely G., 2003. Thermonuclear Weapon for Terrorists; Counter Terrorism-Israel & Herzliya. Retrieved from http://www.ict.org; – On 20th November

Bell S., 2004. How Canada Nurtures and Exports Terrorism around the World-Cold Terror.

Kirby A., 2007. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism-The London Bombers – A Case Study in Radicalization and Emergence of Autonomous Cliques. vol. 30-5- pp.421, 426.

Lentini P., 2007.Conflict and Terrorism-Jihadist Beheading- Technology, Theology and Teleology?” vol. 30-4- pp. 303-25.

Maloney, S., 2000. Canadian Military Journal 1-A Mere Rustle of Leaves- Canadian Strategy and the 1970 FLQ Crisis.vol.-2- pp. 73-86.