One of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top cabinet ministers admitted Sunday that it’s unlikely the 60 ISIS fighters who have returned to Canada probably can be effectively reintegrated into Canada society.
Ralph Goodale called the chances of rehabilitation “pretty remote” in an interview with CTV News. But he said it would be difficult to prosecute the individuals too.
The comments came after a week of outrage from the Conservative official opposition and anger on social media over remarks by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that suggested the returning ISIS militants could be successfully encouraged “to let go of that terrorist ideology.”
Last week, Conservative opposition leader Andrew Scheer grilled Trudeau over the Liberal government’s refusal to prosecute returning ISIS sympathizers, as he reminded the PM that ISIS watched allied soldiers being burned up in cages and sold women and girls into slavery.
“Can the prime minister explain to the House exactly what a program or reintegration service would look like for people who commit these kinds of atrocities?” said Scheer.
In his response, Trudeau said, “…we have launched the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence which helps ensure resources are in place to facilitate disengagement from violent ideologies, in particular children who return from conflict zones require tailored solutions.”
Trudeau further stated that “We are going to monitor them [returning ISIS fighters], we’re also there to help them to let go of that terrorist ideology.”
Goodale appeared to a be running from that assertion Sunday.
“If you want to have a good solid hope of some kind of successful intervention, it has to be at a much earlier stage. You have to prevent the problem before it exists,” Goodale said on CTV.
“Once a person has been in a war zone, once they’ve been actively engaged in terrorist-related activities, the capacity to turn them around is pretty remote. That’s why you have to use the other tools, including collecting the evidence and prosecuting wherever and whenever you can,” he said.
But Goodale says it the ISIS militants are being watched by Canadian security and that passports will be revoked to ensure future travel in support of terrorist operations doesn’t occur.