Short Summary of Calgary Consultation Event - October 11, 2016

Public Safety Canada and Department of Justice Canada officials led a consultation event in Calgary on October 11, 2016. Hosted by the Calgary Police Service, this event provided an opportunity for officials to consult with community leaders, academics, students, and representatives from various organizations across Calgary and the surrounding area on a range of issues relating to national security.

Officials provided a brief overview of the national security consultation process. They also highlighted the Government of Canada’s commitment to establish an Office for community outreach and countering radicalization to violence, for which $35 million over 5 years, with $10 million ongoing, was announced in Budget 2016.

Most of the conversation focused on prevention - namely, how to effectively address the issue of radicalization to violence in communities. Participants noted the essential role of grassroots organizations in addressing this issue, acknowledged the need for coordination and collaboration among government and communities, and highlighted the importance of engaging young people in efforts to prevent and counter radicalization to violence. Emphasis was placed on reaching out to young people through social media and other online mediums to increase awareness of prevention efforts.

Participants voiced interest in remaining informed of, and engaged in, developments in the area of countering radicalization to violence, particularly regarding the establishment of the Office for community outreach and countering radicalization to violence.

Several participants acknowledged the delicate balance between security and rights, and noted the importance of engaging communities in this discussion. A number of concerns were raised regarding specific provisions in the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 - formerly Bill C-51. A few participants felt that definitions like “terrorist propaganda” were too vague, and should be made more concise. The importance of national security accountability was also noted. A few participants voiced frustration that Canadians were not consulted before Bill C-51 became law.

A number of participants also recommended heightened visibility of the national security consultation process to ensure that the information reaches the largest number of Canadians.

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