Canadian Security Magazine

Extremism and the new threat landscape

By Mark LaLonde   

Features Opinion

It’s undeniable. The reality of the threat from extremist acts has changed. Have you recognized the shift and do you appreciate its gravity?

With recent attacks on Canadian Forces personnel in Canada, a café in Sydney and now on journalists in Paris, we have allowed ourselves to be comforted by such dismissive catch-phrases as “it’s a targeted attack,” or “it’s an isolated event.” Even the label ”extremist” is a pejorative that stops us from acknowledging the new reality and gives us a misplaced sense of comfort that it is the “other,” far removed from our existence. This false sense of security ignores the threat around us.

Whether the individual is part of an organized group, sympathizes with a particular ideology or uses a cause to rationalize their own internal demons, we must accept threats are in fact escalating.

A new Canadian security doctrine is required. One that spans the public and private sector, takes an inclusive approach to stakeholders and permits sharing of real intelligence. Law enforcement, security, health, social services, community and faith groups need to form networks where communication takes place, with trust and openness. More than ever, this requires the leadership of our policy makers.

The American model of hyper-militarization of the police and public security doesn’t mesh with Canadian values. At the same time, the official and continuing domestic attitude – that these are isolated or targeted attacks – fails to consider the complex and growing nature of the threat.


It’s time to re-frame our approach to prevention, vigilance and action. When will public leadership step forward?

Mark LaLonde is the Director, International Operations and Company Security Officer, CKR Global Risk Solutions (

Print this page


Stories continue below


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *