by Sadat bin Anwar
Last year, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had famously stated that “Islamism” is the biggest post-9/11 security threat to Canada. CSIS informant Mubin Shaikh, liberal Muslim Tarek Fatah, and others of their ilk were basically parroting these remarks and gaining brownies points from Islamophobes across the country. Meanwhile, at around the same time as this controversial statement was made, Harper’s Conservative government was busy calling for an end to Canada’s long-gun registry plan, thereby loosening the rules around gun registration and moving the country a step closer towards the American model of gun control (or lack thereof). In April of this year, the government was able to successfully pass bill C-19, and universal gun registration in Canada came to an abrupt end. The very Canadian idea that possession of all firearms must be registered with the federal government is now over. Canadian Muslims, who are one of the least likely groups in Canada to own or operate firearms (Mubin Shaikh being a notable exception), are most likely not supporters of this new bill. Ironically, it is not Muslims but rather Mr. Prime Minister himself and his Conservative government that are more plausibly posing the greatest threat to Canadian security and safety.
One of the big news stories in Canada in the month of July was the arrest of two men in Barrie, a town about a hundred kilometers north of Toronto. Donald Feldhoff, 54, and his father William Feldhoff, 75, have now been arrested in connection with a murder that took place back in 1978. After their arrest, a total of 83 bombs were found in their home-made bunker, as well as 29 guns including a machine gun. Unidentified chemicals have also been found. The sheer number of these explosive devices would put just about any start-up al-Qaeda terrorist cell to shame.
Although it is not clear as to how many of these guns were legally owned or not, and if any of them were registered or not, what it does indicate overall is that the threat of Americanization of Canadian towns and rural areas is very real. The idea of finding an underground bunker with paramilitary-like ammunition supplies is something more reminiscent of WASP American militias preparing for an imagined doomsday, irresponsibly claiming and parading their “right to bear arms”. It is not something that we imagine would exist in peace-loving Canada, let alone so uncomfortably close to a major urban center like Toronto. In many ways, this is a shock to Canadians. If these two seemingly normal chaps could be up to such terroristic mischief, who is to say that my neighbour might not be doing the same thing? As much as we must resist the idea of discriminating against specific races or groups of people, I must admit that I may not look at my Anglo-Saxon or white European neighbour in the same way again.
Coming back to Canada’s now-defunct long-gun registry, I will be fair and admit that it had many critics, not only gun-toting right-wingers. Its ineffectiveness and unpopularity are what led to its ultimate demise. What is hoped for by many Canadians such as myself, however, is that the gap that it has left is filled with a more effective replacement. In addition to this, more effective measures must be taken by Canada Border Services to stop the flow of illegal guns from the U.S., something we cannot blame bill C-19 for.
But clearly, however it is to be done, gun violence is something that needs to be brought under control. Residents of the Greater Toronto Area would know exactly what I am talking about; it has been a bloody summer so far. Whether gun violence in the streets of Toronto, or “white radicalization” in smaller towns and rural areas, the government must take action and stop creating smokescreens around the real security problems that Canada faces.
American films and culture– easily the most violent in the world today– coupled with the massive number of illegal guns that are smuggled across the U.S.-Canadian border every year, are the biggest security threat against Canada. We should not let political-correctness stop us from discussing and debating the very real threat of the Americanization of Canada, a dangerous trend that our present government is encouraging us towards.