By Danny Eisen C-CAT
Eisen is a Toronto-based consultant who lost a family member in 9/11. He is a member of The Canadian Coalition Against Terror (C-CAT), a non-partisan advocacy body comprised of Canadian terror victims, counterterrorism professionals, lawyers and other individuals committed to enhancing Canada’s counterterrorism profile .
Our shock at the recent terrorist attacks in India has been painfully short-lived. Before the smoke had even begun to clear in Mumbai, Canadians were fully absorbed in the crisis in Ottawa and the economic woes facing the country. But we would do well to remember that neither of those two problems is of any consequence to the facilitators of terror who are pondering their next atrocity. I strongly doubt that the reduced purchasing power of the average Canadian, American or European will have any impact at all on the merchants of death who supply the weapons, training and infrastructure for the execution of these kinds of operations. While our economy falters, the “terror economy” comprised of a vast international network of illicit industries controlled by an emerging criminal-terrorist nexus, will continue to thrive. That economy is the lifeblood of terrorism and is estimated by some experts to generate approximately $1.5 trillion a year in revenue. According to Canadian authorities, some of those revenues, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, have flowed through Canada in recent years.
While some of us may have our doubts as to whether anyone in Ottawa will be able to fix our broken economy, there is little doubt that we could do a great deal more to damage and undermine the “other” economy — the one that fuels events like 9/11 and Mumbai.
Canadian terror victims have proposed legislation supported by MPs from the across the political spectrum that will greatly enhance our ability to do precisely that. Until now, terror sponsors have been an illusive target for the criminal justice system. The complex and convoluted nature of terrorist financing has made it extremely difficult to meet the criminal justice standard of proving their guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” and only one person has ever been convicted of this crime in Canada. But the proposed bill will allow Canadian terror victims to launch suits against state and local sponsors of terrorism in civil courts where only the preponderance of evidence is required to successfully find the purveyors of mass murder liable for their actions, to seize their assets and to expose them to the public for what they are.
This bill can succeed in deterring terror sponsorship where the criminal justice system has failed to do so. Yet it violates no one’s rights, does not require the firing of a single bullet and does not need the approval of the Governor General. The bill will be reintroduced in the Senate by Saskatchewan Senator David Tkachuk when Parliament reconvenes, and hopefully MPs will keep their word and a “coalition” of all parties will ensure its quick passage through Parliament.