The Liberals and Conservatives are expressing no enthusiasm for trying to secure the release of British-Canadian Jack Letts, dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British media, from prison in Syria following word that London has revoked his citizenship. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Letts should remain locked up. Scheer is shown in this Aug. 14, 2019 File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

Conservative Leader Scheer won’t ‘lift finger’ to bring ‘Jihadi Jack’ to Canada

About 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad

Neither the governing Liberals nor the Opposition Conservatives expressed enthusiasm Monday for trying to secure the release of the overseas prisoner dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British media.

Questions once again emerged about the fate of Jack Letts, the British-Canadian man held in a Kurdish jail in Syria, following word that London recently revoked his citizenship.

Letts’ father John has said his son, who still holds Canadian citizenship, went to Syria to help create a peaceful Muslim state and was never involved in violence perpetrated by the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

According to John Letts, the Kurds expressed willingness last year to hand his son over to Canadian authorities. He has also said Global Affairs Canada told the family for months that it was working to get their son released but that the department then decided it was too dangerous.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Letts should remain locked up.

“Jihadi Jack is in prison now and that is where he should stay,” Scheer said Monday in a statement. “A Conservative government under my leadership will not lift a finger to bring him back to Canada.”

READ MORE: Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to explain to Canadians “why he and his government worked so hard to bring him here,” Scheer added.

Asked Monday if he would welcome Letts to Canada, Trudeau would only say it is a crime to travel internationally with the aim of supporting terrorism. “And that is a crime that we will continue to make all attempts to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. That is the message we have for Canadians and for anyone involved.”

The Canadian government expressed disappointment Sunday that the United Kingdom had moved to “off-load their responsibilities” by stripping Letts’ British citizenship.

“Terrorism knows no borders, so countries need to work together to keep each other safe,” the federal statement said.

“Investigating, arresting, charging and prosecuting any Canadian involved in terrorism or violent extremism is our primary objective. They must be held accountable for their actions.”

The government added that while it is aware of Canadian citizens detained in Syria, there is no legal obligation to facilitate their return. “We will not expose our consular officials to undue risk in this dangerous part of the world.”

In June, Trudeau expressed confidence in the RCMP to investigate Canadians who travelled to fight alongside extremists in Iraq and Syria.

He said the Mounties and intelligence agencies in Canada and abroad face the difficult challenge of presenting the information they gather in court as evidence of crimes.

The government is ensuring Canadian agencies have the necessary resources and opportunities to collaborate with foreign allies on such cases, he added.

The latest annual federal report on extremism says some 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad and, in addition, approximately 60 have returned.

The activities of these Canadians in various countries could involve front-line fighting, training, logistical support, fundraising or studying at extremist-influenced schools.

A small number of the 60 returnees have come back from Turkey, Iraq or Syria but many who remain abroad now lack valid travel documents, find themselves on a no-fly list or fear being arrested on Canadian soil.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Heavy rainfall warning

Rainfall expected to exceed 100 mm in Prince Rupert and North Coast regions

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

Community engagement process launched to implement northern B.C. First Nation’s rights and title

Dogs are matched with the person, not the person matched to the dog – Prince Rupert SPCA

Prince Rupert SPCA does their due diligence in adopting dogs to suitable human companions

Photo Gallery: Memorial totem pole raising in Prince Rupert

The memorial pole stands in memory of Prince Rupert carvers mother on Second Ave. West

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

External community engagement process launched to help implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Unofficial holidays: here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Aug. 16 to 22

World Photography Day, Black Cat Appreciation Day and Rum Day all coming up this week

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Most Read