Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

The Trudeau government appears to be in no hurry to help Canadians who voluntarily joined Islamic terrorists and are now imprisoned in Syria.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada.

“They made this decision to leave this country and to go somewhere else to become associated with a vile and heinous and atrocious terrorist operation,” he said.

“There are consequences that flow from that.”

Goodale said Canadian police, security and intelligence officials are working with their international counterparts to collect evidence that will be usable in a court of law and, where possible, ”we will lay charges and prosecute to the full extent of the law.”

But he didn’t answer directly when asked if the government will make any effort to return imprisoned individuals to Canada if it can’t compile enough evidence to prosecute them here.

Goodale’s comments came as the Conservatives continued to hammer the government over reports that consular officials have initiated contact with at least one imprisoned terror suspect, British-Canadian Jack Letts — dubbed Jihadi Jack by the British press — about coming to Canada.

“Jihadi Jack is a U.K. citizen,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told the House of Commons.

“The government proactively reached out to try to bring this individual, who has fought with a terrorist organization, back to Canada. It took it upon itself to reach out to bring this individual to Canada. Why?”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted that it’s an offence under Canada’s Criminal Code to travel abroad to engage in terrorist activity and that charges will be laid “when there is evidence to support them.” He accused Scheer of playing politics with the issue.

“What we see here is the Conservatives yet again grasping at straws to try to scare Canadians, to try to make Canadians feel unsafe,” Trudeau said.

“Well … I can tell you that Canadians can have the utmost confidence in the work of our intelligence agencies and our security officers in doing everything necessary to keep Canadians safe, to uphold our laws and our values, and demonstrate that the politics of fear have no place in this country.”

Global News has reported that at least three Canadians, alleged to have travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — also known as ISIS or Daesh — are currently in prison there and asking to return home. Three spouses and seven children are also detained.

According to Global News, a Canadian consular official held an hour-long online exchange with Letts in January, including asking him if he’d like to come to Canada or go back to the United Kingdom.

“I want to live a normal life. I want to come to Canada,” Letts replied.

The official told Letts that Canada has “limited capacity to provide consular service in Syria” but would try to help him.

Goodale said Tuesday that Global Affairs has an obligation to provide consular services to Canadian citizens wherever possible. But he noted “there are certain areas of the world that are particularly difficult and dangerous … where the provision of normal consular services are physically impossible.”

Goodale made it clear that Canada won’t put diplomats’ lives at risk in order to help individuals in dangerous areas, such as Syria where the alleged Canadian ISIL fighters are being held.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Registration is open for the Okanagan’s largest outdoor cycling class

The 13th annual YMCA of Okanagan Cycle for Strong Kids event will take place on May 26

UPDATE: Truck dumped on embankment near Big White

The truck was allegedly reported stolen from Kelowna

Car crashes into semi-truck in West Kelowna

Highway 97 heading northbound by Boucherie Rd. closed

VegFest drops Okanagan Ice Pops as sponsor

Controversy stirs over a bacon-chocolate flavoured popsicle

Semi-annual Trunk Sale returns Saturday

Regional District Waste Reduction Office hosts semi-annual Trunk Sale

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Black bear spotted near Salmon Arm elementary school

The bear was sighted at around 4 p.m. after school was out

Multiple black bear sightings in residential area near Okanagan elementary

Pictures of the bear have been posted on the Armstrong Community Forum frequently

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Most Read