Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said Sunday if re-elected he would introduce legislation that would make it a criminal offence for Canadians to travel to parts of the world under the control of extremist groups.
“A re-elected Conservative government will designate travel to places that are ground zero for terrorist activity a criminal offence,” Harper said Sunday during a security-themed campaign stop in the Ottawa riding of West-Nepean, during which he also faced renewed questions about his role in the Mike Duffy scandal.
“We are talking about the most dangerous places on earth, where governance is nonexistent and violence is widespread and brutal.”
The proposed law would apply to certain “declared areas” Harper said, though he did not name any specific locations. A document provided to the media by the party said parts of Syria and Iraq would “likely” be among the first areas to be subject to the travel ban.
Similar laws exist in Australia, which has designated parts of Iraq and Syria as no-travel zones. (…)
Harper indicated exceptions might be made for some individuals — such as aid workers, diplomats and journalists — but maintained there are “few legitimate reasons” to travel to such parts of the world.
Travel to such places is “not a human right,” Harper said, responding to a question about the proposed legislation’s implications on civil liberties.
Harper touted the Conservatives’ record on security while warning about the threat represented by ISIS and other extremist groups, in particular from homegrown extremists who return to Canada after training abroad.
He also reiterated his oft-heard criticism of the Liberals and the NDP, alleging both were soft on extremism.
“There’s no more importance than ensuring the safety of Canadians. Our opponents just do not get that,” he said.
Later, at a rally in Quebec City, the Conservative leader said his is the only party that takes security issues seriously.
Harper was scheduled to end the day in Toronto, revving up for a week of crisscrossing the country.