Terrorism in Canada

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Terrorism in Canada has occurred on numerous occasions in the country's history. Some terrorism is related to external events and nationalities. Some, such as the FLQ crisis in the 1960s, was related to internal tensions within the country.

Banned terrorist organizations[edit]

The Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act "provides measures for the Government of Canada to create a list of entities that: have knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity" or "knowingly acted on behalf of, at the direction of or in association with an entity that has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity."[1] The Act specifically provides that "for the Governor in Council to establish by regulation a list on which, on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Safety, any entity may be placed."[1]

The government of Canada has banned more than 50 terrorist organizations.[2] These include Al Qaeda, the Armed Islamic Group, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the International Sikh Youth Federation, the Palestine Liberation Front, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah,[3] Kahane Chai, the Taliban, and Mujahedin e-Khalq.[4]

In April 2006, the Canadian government designated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as a terrorist group.[5] In December 2006, the Canadian government expanded the federal ban of Hezbollah from the purely militant wing to all 16 sub-organizations.[6]

International terrorism[edit]

Relating to Cuba[edit]

  • September 22, 1966 - A bazooka attack on the Cuban embassy in Ottawa, Ontario is made.
  • October 5, 1966 - Anti-Castro forces bomb the offices of the Cuban trade delegation in Ottawa.
  • May 31, 1967: A small bomb explodes at the Cuba Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. The attack is attributed to Cuban Nationalist Action.
  • October 15, 1967: A bomb explodes at the offices of the native trade delegation in Montreal, Quebec.
  • May 29, 1969: A bomb is placed in the doorway of the Cuban consulate in Montreal, it fails to go off.
  • July 12, 1971: A small bomb goes off at the offices of the native trade delegation in Montreal, Quebec.
  • April 4, 1972: Cuban official Sergio Pérez Castillo is killed by an explosion at the Cuban consulate in Montreal, Quebec.
  • January 21, 1974: A bomb explodes at the Cuban embassy in Ottawa. It is attributed to Orlando Bosch.
  • September 22, 1976: An explosive device is thrown from a car at the Cuban consulate in Montreal.
  • January 14, 1980: A large explosion significantly damages the Cuban consulate in Montreal.

Relating to militant Sikh aspirations for Khalistan[edit]

Related to Armenian-Turkish relationships[edit]

Domestic terrorism[edit]



Islamist Extremists[edit]

  • December 14, 1999 - Ahmed Ressam, known as the Millennium Bomber, was arrested upon entering the United States by a ferry from Victoria, British Columbia. He was smuggling explosives in his car from Canada as part of a plot to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on New Year's Eve 1999, as part of the foiled 2000 millennium attack plots.
  • April 2004 - A Canadian Muslim of Lebanese descent firebombs the library of the United Talmud Torahs Montreal Jewish school.
  • 2006 - In the 2006 Ontario terrorism plot, Canadian counter-terrorism forces arrested 18 terrorists (dubbed the "Toronto 18") inspired by al-Qaeda. They were accused of planning to detonate truck bombs, to open fire in a crowded area, and to storm the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, the Canadian Parliament building, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) headquarters, and the parliamentary Peace Tower, to take hostages and to behead the Prime Minister and other leaders.
  • August 2010 - Misbahuddin Ahmed of Ottawa was arrested (later convicted in July 2014) of knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity and participation in the activities of a terrorist group.[10][11]
  • 2013 - Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser of Montreal and Toronto, respectively, charged as part of an alleged Al Qaeda plot to derail a New York to Toronto train on the Canadian side of the border. Alleged plot was not imminent.[citation needed] Canadian Muslims helped to foil the alleged plot.[12] The suspects said they were arrested based on their appearance.[13][14]
  • 2013 July 1 - Police announced the arrest of a Surrey man and woman on terrorism-related charges in a plot to detonate pressure cooker bombs outside the Legislature July 1. John Stewart Nuttall, whose lawyer described him as a convert to "Islam", and neighbours told reporters the two lived simply and listened to Islamic recordings.[15]
  • October 20, 2014 – On October 20, 2014, two Canadian Forces members were hit by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a recent Muslim convert in what is known as the 2014 Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu ramming attack. Warrant officer Patrice Vincent died of his injuries. Couture-Rouleau was eventually gunned down and killed.
  • October 22, 2014 - Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a convert to Islam, fatally shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier on ceremonial sentry duty at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa, and then forced his way into Canada's parliament building, where he had a shootout with parliament security personnel. He was shot 31 times and died at the scene. Zehaf-Bibeau made a video prior to the attack in which he expressed his motives as being related "to Canada's foreign policy and in respect of his religious beliefs."
  • August 10, 2016 - Aaron Driver was killed in Strathroy, Ontario, in a confrontation with police after detonating an explosive in the back seat of a taxi. The confrontation followed a tip from the FBI that Driver had made a "martyrdom video" and was planning an attack on an urban area.[16]

Quebec nationalism and Canadian nationalism[edit]

  • 1963-1969 - Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) starts a bombing campaign at the average rate of one every ten days. Targets included English owned businesses, banks, McGill University and the homes of prominent English speakers.
  • 1963 FLQ bombing of Canadian Army Recruiting Centre in Montreal, killing Sgt. Wilfred V. O'Neil.
  • late 1960s - FLQ places a bomb in a window well of the National Defence Headquarters on Lisgar St in Ottawa, Ontario. The explosion killed a cleaning lady.
  • late 1960s - FLQ places a bomb in a mailbox next to the Canadian Tire store on Wellington St in Ottawa, Ontario.
  • February 13, 1969 - FLQ sets off a powerful bomb that rips through the Montreal Stock Exchange causing massive destruction and seriously injuring 27 people.
  • February 22, 1969 - FLQ terrorist bomb explodes at Liberal Party social club in Montreal, injuring two people.
  • October 5, 1970 - British diplomat James Cross and (on October 10) Quebec Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte are kidnapped by the FLQ in Montreal. (The dead body of Pierre Laporte was discovered in the trunk of a car in Montreal, Quebec on October 17, 1970, and the murderers were arrested on December 26, 1970; Cross was released on December 3, 1970.)
  • May 8, 1984 - Soldier Denis Lortie, a federalist, enters National Assembly with the intent of killing René Lévesque and the deputies of the Parti Québécois. Due to a great amount of chance, he came in too early and killed 0 deputies (but still killed 3 other people and wounded 13). Unarmed employee René Jalbert negotiated with Lortie for several hours and convinced him to give up his gun and get arrested. Jalbert got decorated the next week.
  • 2000 - The Brigade d'autodéfense du français bombs a church where an English fundraiser was to be held.
  • 2001 - Quebec - The FLQ/The Brigade d'autodéfense du français firebombs three "Second Cup" locations in Montreal. They were targeted because of the company's use of its incorporated English name "Second Cup". Rhéal Mathieu, a previously convicted FLQ terrorist was convicted for all three bombings. Seven McDonald's restaurants were also firebombed.
  • September 4, 2012 - The night of the Quebec provincial elections, Richard Bain, an anglophone Quebecer attempted to assassinate Parti Québécois leader and Premier elect Pauline Marois at a victory gathering in Montreal. He also set fire to the Metropolis concert hall where the event was being held. A man was killed and another was injured in the terrorist act. It is said that Bain's ultimate goal was to kill Marois following the Parti Québécois victory. Bain was arrested shortly after the attack, is currently incarcerated and was undergoing trial in July 2016.[17]

Right-Wing Terrorists[edit]

  • January 29, 2017 - During evening prayer at the Islamic Cultural Centre mosque in Quebec City, Quebec - one gunman entered and opened fire on Muslim worshipers killing six people and injuring nineteen (five critically).[18] The gunman called police from a second location about 20 minutes after the shooting and was arrested by Quebec police without incident. The gunman, Alexandre Bissonnette from Quebec city, reportedly has extreme right-wing views that he shared online and at Laval University.[19][20]

Sons of Freedom[edit]

  • 1920s - Arson and bombing by Freedomites (also called Svobodniki or the Sons of Freedom), targeted property of other Doukhobors and government buildings such as schools to exhibit their dislike of materialism, and government pressure to school Svobodnik children
  • 1924 - Peter Verigin was killed, aged 65, in a still-unsolved Canadian Pacific Railway train explosion on October 29, 1924 on the Kettle Valley Railway (now known locally as the Columbia and Western Railway) line near Farron, between Castlegar and Grand Forks, which also killed his 17-year-old female companion Marie Strelaeff, member of the provincial legislature John McKie, P.J Campbell, Hakim Singh, Harry J. Bishop, W. J. Armstrong, and Neil E. Armstrong. The government initially (during investigation) had stated the crime was perpetrated by people within the Doukhobor community, while the Doukhobors suspected Canadian government involvement. To date, it is still unknown who was responsible for the bombing.[21]
  • 1960s - Additional arson and bombings, mostly conducted in the nude, included the bombing of a railway bridge in Nelson, British Columbia in 1961.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b About the listing process, Public Safety Canada (accessed June 2, 2016).
  2. ^ "Currently listed entities". Public Safety Canada. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Canada and Terrorism". Anti-Defamation League. January 2004. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Canada bans Kahane Chai". Ynetnews. 26 May 2005. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Canada adds Tamil Tigers to list of terrorist groups, CBC News (April 10, 2006).
  6. ^ "Canada slaps ban on Hezbollah, now has 16 groups on terror list". Jewish Telegraph Agency. 17 December 2002. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Dale, Ronald J. "Benjamin Lett: Early Canadian Terrorist". thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  8. ^ Taylor, Phil (2011). Montreal and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: John Wilkes Booth's Unexplained Visit to Montreal in October 1864. Bakara. ISBN 1926824083. 
  9. ^ "Canadian gas pipeline hit by 6th bomb". UPI.com. 4 July 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Misbahuddin Ahmed found guilty of 2 terrorism charges". CBC News. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Cobb, Chris (11 July 2014). "Guilty verdict in Misbahuddin Ahmed terror trial". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Kutty, Faisal (25 April 2013). "Muslims hold key to fighting terror". Toronto Star. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  13. ^ Doucet, Isabeau (23 April 2013). "Two arrested in Canada over alleged passenger train terrorist plot". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Doucet, Isabeau (23 April 2013). "Suspect in alleged Canadian terror plot claims charges 'based on appearances'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Nagel, Jeff (2 July 2013). "B.C. Muslims feel 'ill' as search begins for terror plot answers". Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  16. ^ "Aaron Driver, who pledged allegiance to ISIS, was planning 'imminent' attack, police say". CBC News. 11 August 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  17. ^ Bernstien, Jaela. "Richard Bain: 'I don't consider them lies. I just consider them trying to get what I need.'". CBC. 
  18. ^ "Trump 'sympathetic' but publicly silent on Quebec City mosque attack". 
  19. ^ Editor (30 January 2017). "The Latest: Quebec mosque attack victims named". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  20. ^ Editor (30 January 2017). "The Latest: Quebec 'Terrorist Attack': College Student Alexandre Bissonnette Charged". NBC News. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  21. ^ "Explosion on the Kettle Valley Line: The Death of Peter Verigin". Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  22. ^ "Edmonton Disaster Timetable" (pdf). City of Edmonton. 
  23. ^ Editor (31 October 2001). "Anthrax worries hit city". Kamloops This Week. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  24. ^ "White powder sent to Quebec Conservative MP harmless: police". CBC News. March 5, 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hamilton, D. et al. (2006). Inside Canadian Intelligence: Exposing the New Realities of Espionage and International Terrorism. Dundurn Press. ISBN 1-55002-608-9
  • Roach, Kent (2003). September 11: consequences for Canada. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2584-X. 
  • Ross, J.I. (1995). “The Rise and Fall of Quebecois Separatist Terrorism: A Qualitative Application of Factors from two Models,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 18, No. 4, July, pp. 285–297.
  • Ross, J.I. (1994). “Low-Intensity Conflict in the Peaceable Kingdom: The Attributes of International Terrorism in Canada, 1960-1990,” Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 3, Summer, pp. 36–62.
  • Ross, J.I. (1992). “Attacking Terrorist Attacks: Initial Tests of the Contagion Between Domestic and International Terrorism in Canada,” Low Intensity Violence and Law Enforcement, Vol. 1, No. 2, Autumn, pp. 163–183.
  • Ross, J. I. (1988). “Attributes of Domestic Political Terrorism in Canada, 1960-1985,” Terrorism: An International Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3, Fall, pp. 213–233.
  • Ross, J. I. (1988). “An Events Data Base on Political Terrorism in Canada: Some Conceptual and Methodological Problems,” Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 2, Spring, pp. 47–65.

External links[edit]