Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency (DEDC) - April 26, 2022

On this page

  1. Key Messages
Issues Related to the Review
  1. Freedom Convoy 22
General Issues
  1. Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism
  2. Foreign Interference - General
  3. Foreign Intereference - Democratic Institutions
  4. Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement
  5. Modernizing CSIS Authorities
  6. CSIS Screening

Freedom Convoy – CSIS’ Role – Director Talking Points
2022-04-25

Background

The Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremist (IMVE) threat is diverse and multifaceted. The continually evolving IMVE threat presents a number of unique challenges and operational dynamics, and like the Religiously Motivated Violent Extremist threat, continues to evolve. The IMVE threat spans Xenophobic Violence (racially motivated violence, ethno-nationalist violence); Anti-Authority Violence (anti-government, anti-law enforcement, anarchist violence); Gender Driven Violence (violent misogyny including Incel and anti-LGTBQ violence) as well as other Grievance-driven and Ideologically-motivated Violence. 

Across this spectrum of investigative interests, CSIS’ investigative case work and coverage building efforts are focused on the identification of individuals and groups facilitating, advocating or taking actions towards serious violence (grievous bodily harm or destruction of property) in support of an ideological, political or religious objective with the intent of affecting societal change, as per section 2(c) of the CSIS Act.

In late 2018, the Service began to look into the deeper parts of the online extremist space to see a festering community of frustration, rage and individuals potentially mobilizing towards violence as defined by section 2(c) of the CSIS Act.  The Service has been a leader in the Security and Intelligence community on understanding the IMVE threat, having led three GC-IMVE initiatives: IMVE terminology, IMVE 2C Thresholds, and IMVE-Fabric of Society.  CSIS worked with analysts from across the GC and law enforcement to develop common language and terminology that has been adopted by international partners. 

CSIS has also clearly defined its threshold when investigating the IMVE threat and shared with GC partners briefings and products to help others understand the analytical process used by CSIS in its decision-making process when ascertaining whether an identified IMVE threat actor meets our investigative threshold and what action, if any, should be undertaken and by whom, all while keeping strategic considerations in mind. 

CSIS has also spoken publically about the IMVE threat before Parliament, as well as to external stakeholders and through Public Reports and speeches. In May 2019, CSIS Director appeared before the House of Commons’ Standing Committee National Security and Public Safety (SECU) stating that CSIS was focusing more of its resources on misogynist, white nationalist and neo-nationalist groups, given their use of terrorist methods to achieve their goals. The Service’s Assistant Director, Requirements (ADR), also appeared before SECU in May 2021 further to the committee’s study of IMVE. The ADR noted that grievances can be fluid within the IMVE space, citing COVID as an example for increased anti-authority grievances. The ADR also spoke about CSIS’ regular collaboration and joint efforts with RCMP and other partners to ensure threats are being assessed and mitigated when possible by the appropriate agency. 

Released in 2021, the Service’s 2020 Public Report assessed the IMVE space had evolved with unprecedented multiplicity and fluidity. The report noted the exacerbation of the IMVE threat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically within the xenophobic and anti-authority narratives. This increased threat was in part amplified by false information spread by extremists over the internet.  The report further spoke about the increasingly violent calls for the arrest and execution of public figures including politicians as an area of increasing concern.

Freedom Convoy 22

CSIS mandate; s.2(c) and 2(d) definitions

Anti-authority movements and conspiracy theories

Protests and funding

FC22 and way forward

Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism (IMVE) / Extrémisme violent à caractère idéologique (EVCI)

Issue: What is ideologically motivated violent extremism? What is CSIS’ role and assessment of this threat?

Key Messages

Threat Landscape

Rise of IMVE threat in Canada

Online threat environment

Gender-Driven IMVE

Terrorist listings

On specific groups being investigated

Foreign Interference in Canada - General

Issue: What is CSIS’ understanding of this threat?

Key Messages

Foreign Interference Manifestations

Democratic institutions

Communities

Media

Hotlines

FI in Canada – Democratic Institutions

Issue: What is CSIS’ role in protecting Canada’s democracy?

On CSIS’ role in protecting Canada’s democratic institutions

General Election 44

Threat reduction measures

Foreign Agents Registry

Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement

Issue: How is CSIS engaging with external stakeholders, including on cyber threats?

Key Messages

Modernizing CSIS Authorities

Issue: What changes are necessary to CSIS’ authorities, and why?

Key messages

On specific amendments

CSIS Screening

Issue: What is CSIS’ security screening mandate? What are the different screening authorities under the CSIS Act? What is CSIS’ role in advising Government on security assessments?

Key Messages

On Government security screening

On recourse when a clearance is denied or revoked

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