A new type of war has begun for Canadians. Terrorist attacks are now happening within our own borders. In recent days, two Canadian soldiers were run over by a radicalized Canadian named Martin Ahmad Rouleau. Unfortunately, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed in the attack. He was 53 years old.

This happened right in a Service Canada governmental building parking lot near the Canadian Force Base in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, where recruits and future officers are trained. Rouleau waited for more than two hours for a possible target.

Our very own Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is severely lacking the budget to be able to closely monitor all possible terrorist threats. As a matter of fact, Rouleau was on a watch list and even got his passport revoked, so he was unable to fly abroad and join ISIS. Fortunately for Canadians, the CSIS relies heavily on the Five Eyes Intelligence Network. That being said, I have to say that our CSIS analysts and operatives are doing a great job with the budget they have.

This whole situation raised a question about Canada’s readiness against terrorist attacks. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and CSIS are more than capable of conducting intelligence operations. The fact that Canadians are willingly reporting possible threats really helps these two organizations. Unfortunately, they can’t monitor every possible terrorist threat due to the lack of budget.

RCMP quickly put CDS General Tom Lawson into protection and evacuated him.

Since 2001, Canada has been an active player in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and deployed forces to Afghanistan, Libya, and now, Iraq. As an active partner in the coalition against terrorism, the Canadian government knows about possible domestic attacks.

The resources are scarce and the manpower is low. However, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney recently announced new powers for CSIS including:

  1. Allowing CSIS to obtain information on Canadians fighting abroad with terrorist groups through the “Five Eyes” spy network, which includes Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
  2. Letting CSIS more easily track Canadians engaging in terrorist activities abroad, and similarly helping a Five Eyes country track its nationals working with terrorist groups in Canada.
  3. Giving CSIS informants the same anonymity accorded to police sources.

Having said all of that, it doesn’t take an established spy network to identify one of the core instruments at work to develop these homegrown terrorists: simple, ubiquitous social media. The new tool for ISIS’ propaganda.

Rouleau’s action is a pure example of what social media can do. Approximately a year ago, he started looking at propaganda videos and decided to convert to Islam because of them. His friends knew him as a very outgoing guy, but he quickly changed when he started watching those videos. He was also a father, but lost custody of his child due to his conversion to radical Islam.