/Diane Francis: Jihadi Jack and those like him have no place in Canada

Diane Francis: Jihadi Jack and those like him have no place in Canada


In August, Britain stripped Jack “Jihadi Jack” Letts of his citizenship because of his terrorist activities with ISIL. He’s rotting in a jail on soil that used to be controlled by Syria but is now controllled by Western-backed Kurdish militias.

Now he wants Canada to accept him, if he ever gets out of jail, even though he’s never lived here — on the basis that his father was a Canadian, entitling him to Canadian citizenship.

Ottawa dithered, then reacted foolishly saying that the revocation of his British citizenship makes him Canada’s problem.

Wrong. If Britain dumped the guy, then Canada can, too. He’s a pariah, a security risk, and a danger to any society.

Frankly, this is another blunder by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who rescinded the Conservatives’ Bill C-24, which revoked Canadian citizenship from a dual citizen if the person was convicted of terrorism or treason or fraud.

Not only should that rule be reinstated and upheld, but arguments that Letts would be “stateless” are irrelevant and are Britain’s fault.

Worse, Letts’ father is threatening to move to Canada to agitate to have his son live here. In a perfect world, both parents would be banned from entering the country because they were convicted this month in a British court of supporting terrorism by sending him money while he was abroad with ISIL. The parents argued in a British court that they were just being caring parents by giving their son money, but the court rejected this.

“By March 2015, counter-terrorism detectives were investigating Jack Letts and they advised his parents not to send him any cash,” reported the BBC. They ignored this advice which led to their conviction under the Terrorism Act 2000 in Britain which states that is it a crime to enter into a funding arrangement if someone either knows or has “reasonable cause to suspect” that money could end up in the hands of terrorists.

This is another blunder by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Not one of them is welcome here nor are dozens of other “Canadian” terrorists who have reportedly returned.

A Dec. 2018 report by the federal Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness says it is “’conceivable’ all of the 60 known returnees could commit ‘low-sophistication’ terrorism attacks, including knife and vehicle attacks,” CBC reported.


John Letts and Sally Lane arrive at the Old Bailey charged with making money available for suspected terrorist activities on Sept. 10, 2018, in London, England.

Jack Taylor/Getty Images files

Ottawa hasn’t charged and imprisoned those that have come back even though the Criminal Code stipulated that the act of leaving Canada to become a terrorist is an offence.

In February, the Tories pushed a motion to force the federal government to come up with a legal strategy, to no avail. “It’s their job to keep Canadians safe … When will this government get serious?” said the Tory immigration critic Michelle Rempel.

Clearly, Canada should do what Britain or France have done. In May, France said it won’t repatriate ISIL fighters or their families from Syria due to a public backlash concerning public safety.

The United States has jailed some of its citizens who engaged in terrorism, and is exploring options to strip others of their American citizenship. But it is pressuring allies to take back jihadists who are being held in Syria because their incarceration is at American expense.

The best solution is for Canada and others to help defray their portion of costs in order to keep them there.

“‘Jihadi Jack’ is in prison now and that is where he should stay. A Conservative government under my leadership will not lift a finger to bring him back to Canada,” Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said in a statement to Reuters.

Canadians don’t want him or any of them, even if born here, and Canadians deserve a government that looks after them first.

Financial Post

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