OTTAWA — The jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and other democratic countries and there’s no option but to “face that head on and deal with it,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in response to the massacre in Paris.
“They have declared war on anybody who does not think and act exactly as they wish they would think and act,” Harper said of the jihadists Thursday.
“And we may not like this and wish it would go away, but it is not going to go away and the reality is that we are going to have to confront it,” he told the media after an announcement on apprenticeship programs in British Columbia.
Harper noted that Canada is looking at ways to tighten anti-terrorist measures at home and is engaged in the military mission against Islamic State — what he called “an entire jihadist army” — in Iraq.
Speaking of the attack in Paris in which 12 people were killed in the offices of the satiric newspaper Charlie Hebdo, he stated, “When a trio of hooded men struck at some of our most cherished democratic principles — freedom of expression, freedom of the press — they assaulted democracy everywhere.”
Harper said that, in response, hundreds of thousands of people in Canada and around the world “openly demonstrated that we will not be intimidated by jihadist terrorists.”
“Today, I know all Canadians, during this time of national mourning (in France), we all stand together with the people of France, our great friends and allies,” he said.
He said his government will come forward quickly when Parliament returns later this month with tougher security laws to deal with the domestic terrorist threat. The government is preparing new legislation but must balance security needs with individual rights, Harper said.