Has Canada Been Significantly Impacted by Terrorist Events Both Abroad or Domestic?Ever since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, terrorism has risen to new heights.
Terrorism has, without a doubt, grown and evolved into a much larger threat. It has reached an all time high in 2014. According to Our World in Data (2016), almost 17,000 terrorism-related incidents and more than 40,000 fatalities occured around the globe in 2014.
Everyone has been affected by the crusade of terrorists and Canada is not immune to it. Canada has had its share of terror attacks in the past and has also been threatened by infamous terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS (Government of Canada, 2017). With these towering numbers and statistics, terrorism has struck fear into the hearts of many people in earth, including the citizens of Canada. But is there a reason for Canadians to fear the threat of terrorists? Has Canada been significantly impacted by terrorist events both abroad and domestic? The answer to both questions is no and this thesis will further explain why. While it is clear that the impact of the devastating attacks orchestrated by terrorists reaches to all corners of the Earth, Canada has demonstrated to be able to sustain the effects with minimal impact to the the Canadian economy and standard of living . This is due to Canada having developed effective counter-terrorism strategies, spent less of its budget on the war on terror and had very little to no attacks inside its borders annually.Canada is well-known as being one of the most peaceful countries in the world. It is not a surprise that annually, Canada has had very few domestic attacks.
Out of the 17,000 attacks taken in 2014, only 6 took place inside Canada’s borders. In fact, Canada has not had more than 10 attacks in one year from 1970 to 2016. Incidents taken place inside a country’s borders (domestic attacks) arguably have the heaviest impacts as it is considered a direct effect of terrorism. It seems like Canada is an exception. From the years 1970 to 2016, there had been a total of 84 domestic incidents in Canada (Our World in Data, 2016). The effects of the majority of these attacks were miniscule as they were done by followers encouraged by ISIS and Al-Qaeda (2017 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, 2017). It is clear that Canada is not severely impacted by the exiguous and low-impact domestic attacks it had received.
While Canada is not significantly impacted directly, it is being affected indirectly by large-scale foreign terrorist attacks. Attacks that occur outside of Canada’s borders are considered foreign to canadians. A perfect example of Canada being affected indirectly is the September 11 attacks in 2001 which caused complications in the trades between Canada and the United States. After the 9/11 attacks, trades between the two countries decreased due to the increased border security at the US-Canada border (see figure 2 & 3).
A research paper published by the Western Washington University (2006) stated that the 9/11 attacks had caused a spike in security at the US-Canada border: “One consequence of the tragedy 9/11 attacks is heightened security concerns surrounding the movement of goods and people across international borders that, in turn, have raised the prospects of substantial disruptions of international trade. Within the Canada-U.S. context, numerous observers have identified increased regulations and intensified inspection procedures at the Canada-U.S.
border as contributing to significantly higher shipping costs and shipment delays.”The higher shipping costs has unsurprisingly caused Canada’s profits from trading with the US to go down. In mid-2001 to early 2002, there is drastic decline in the aggregate U.S. imports from Canada. This is all due to the 9/11 attacks indirectly affecting Canada.
One of the biggest reasons why Canada is not affected by terrorism is the counter-terrorism strategy plan that the canadian government had established after the events of 9/11. The strategy includes the cooperation of multiple branches of the government of Canada. “This comprehensive Strategy guides more than 20 federal departments and agencies to better align them to ‘prevent, detect, deny and respond’ to terrorist threats'” (Government of Canada, 2017). Its four main factors, prevent, detect, deny and respond, explains how the strategy works to protect the citizens of Canada.
“Prevent” focuses on the figuring out and diminishing the motives behind each terrorist group or individual. “Detect” focuses on detecting the activities of terrorists. “Deny” focuses on denying terrorists before they could carry out their attacks.
Finally, “Respond” focuses on the minimizing of the effect of an attacks if one does occur. Canada’s sophisticated strategy is very effective and prevents terrorist attacks from occuring more often in the country.To prevent terrorism, sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
Just like its allies, Canada has had a huge contribution in the War on Terror, especially in Afghanistan. Canada has spent about $18 billion fighting in the middle east (War in Afghanistan, 2018). This number is very low compared to other countries like the US. According to a working paper published in 2013 by the Harvard Kennedy School, the US have spent the most in the middle east “totaling somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion”(Bilmes, 2013). The reason why Canada spent so little in contrast to the US is because Canada pulled out almost all of our troops early in 2011. It seems clear that Canada knows not to spend much of its budget while still having a big contribution in the war against terrorism.There are many factors that explain why Canada is not significantly affected by terrorist events both abroad and domestic.
First, Canada is not greatly impacted directly simply due to the fact that domestic attacks, which cause direct damage to the country, is very rare to see. Second, Canada’s the sophistication and effectiveness of Canada’s counter-terrorism strategy has prevented, denied, detected, and responded to many attacks which limited its impact on the nation. Finally, Canada’s war efforts overseas has shown to have great impact against the threat of terrorism but doesn’t cost canadian taxpayers to pay as much as the USA’s citizens. Terrorist events happen every year and affect billions of people but the citizens of Canada should have no worries.