Copeland: Who had the right response to the Boston Marathon attack, Justin Trudeau or Stephen Harper?
Former diplomat; research fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute
This does not seems to me like a clear cut case of “either/or”.
Trudeau is not making excuses in alluding to the importance of addressing root causes if we are to treat the longer term drivers of terrorism. It is feelings of anger, alienation, resentment, and exclusion, which may be experienced either directly or vicariously, that cause people to turn to political violence and religious extremism.
In that respect, it is development – long term, human-centred, equitable, and sustainable – which will provide the most enduring basis for security. Education, employment and good governance are key.
Harper is correct to condemn violence against innocents as unacceptable, and to advocate a rapid, decisive and effective response. That said, the ill-starred global war on terror, with its costly expeditionary occupations and widespread erosion of civil rights and democratic freedoms, has proven an unmitigated disaster.
It is careful, painstaking police and intelligence work, in tandem with the functioning of a transparent, efficient, and well-resourced judicial system, which holds the best promise of delivering satisfactory results over time.
In the face of terrorist provocations, there can be no substitute for steadfast and principled resilience. At the end of the day, only more talking, and less fighting will produce the gains required.