6

Mother of man killed in Syria says feds failed Aaron Driver

‘There was just so much opportunity for agencies, organizations or anybody to step in … and nobody did’


 
An armed RCMP officer stands on Parliament Hill, a day after an RCMP incident involving Aaron Driver in Strathroy, Ontario, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

An armed RCMP officer stands on Parliament Hill, a day after an RCMP incident involving Aaron Driver in Strathroy, Ontario. (Justin Tang, CP) 

CALGARY — A former Calgary woman whose 22-year-old radicalized son was killed while fighting alongside Islamic extremists in Syria two years ago says the federal government failed both Aaron Driver and his family.

Driver, 24, died during a confrontation with RCMP in Strathroy, Ont., Wednesday after allegedly making a martyrdom video that suggested he was planning to detonate a homemade bomb in an urban centre.

“I cried. Honestly, I cried,” said Christianne Boudreau, from her new home in Eymet, France.

“It just broke my heart because there was just so much opportunity for agencies, organizations or anybody to step in and support that family and help turn something around and nobody did.”

Related reading: The scary reality of terrorism in Canada

Boudreau found out that her son, Damian Clairmont, was being watched by Canadian intelligence agents for two years before he disappeared from Calgary. She thought he’d gone to Egypt to study Arabic after he converted to Islam.

She had no warning that her son might be in danger and didn’t receive any offer of help from anyone in government.

Clairmont reportedly died in heavy fighting in the city of Aleppo in 2014 as a member of the militant group Islamic State.

Driver had been under a court order not to associate with any terrorist organizations or to use a computer or cellphone. But he wasn’t under continuous surveillance despite concern he might participate or contribute to the activity of a terrorist group.

“They left them on their own and you just can’t say take out the Internet, take away the social media. That doesn’t cure a damn thing,” said Boudreau, who added her heart goes out to the Driver family.

“They should have provided full counselling for the family and to him to make sure that they were getting down to what was disturbing him, what was bothering him and to take whatever emotional motivation that was pushing him in that direction and those beliefs and use that energy for something that is positive,” she said.

Boudreau had been harshly critical of the government of former prime minister Stephen Harper who she said was “washed up and burnt out” and whose approach to dealing with radicalization was based on fear.

Aaron Driver leaves the Law Courts in Winnipeg, Tuesday, February 2, 2016. Terrorism suspect Aaron Driver was killed in a confrontation with police in the southern Ontario town of Strathroy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Aaron Driver leaves the Law Courts in Winnipeg, Tuesday, February 2, 2016. (John Woods, CP) 

She had hoped for better from the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But she said the new government appears to be denying that radicalized youth are a problem.

“I really, truly think they are burying their heads in the sand,” she said.

“It’s as if they think the problem has gone away, that the kids aren’t leaving anymore. They’re acting as if there is no problem, there’s nothing wrong and until they start lending a hand in some of the solutions the kids don’t stand a chance.”

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Thursday that the government has committed $500 million towards various police, security and border control measures, as well as a counter-radicalization program ramping up this summer.

But he said the government has to do more to reach out to those who are at risk.

“In the past the government of Canada has largely been absent from this field,” Goodale said.

“Our view is that the government of Canada has to get far more proactive on the issue of outreach, community engagement, counter-radicalization, determining how and what means the right, positive, constructive influences can be brought to bear to change what would otherwise be dangerous behaviour.”


 

Mother of man killed in Syria says feds failed Aaron Driver

  1. Maybe she should have done something herself. Blaming the government for bad parenting is convenient but unrealistic. Both of these men are adults who’s behaviour cannot be controlled by the state as long as they are not braking the law.

    • Oh sure, just marginalize parents further, why don’t you. I don’t see why what she says should be dismissed — for example, observe the lengths to which the government goes in response to gay rights when modifying sex education curriculum. Therefore, as an example, why can’t the government go as far, by modifying the education curriculum as regards statecraft and civic participation? Whereas, one could easily believe that most parents are qualified in putting an oar in as regards to having some knowledge of what sex is about, it is much harder to believe that an equal proportion of parents would know how to handle the nature of questions about Middle East conflicts from precocious young minds. And a 24-year old man is a very young adult, and in terms of male brains, not necessarily completely mature.

  2. Yes, it’s the government’s fault. Or perhaps some non-governmental agency. Or the fault of Christians driving SUVs with V8 engines. Always someone else’s fault.
    But is it possible that the blame lies with the adult who made the insane decision?
    In some cases, perhaps it’s the fault of the parents for turning a blind eye to a child’s progressive radicalization.
    You know, some parents even want their kids radicalized, just not more than they are. Enough so they know what side they’re on, but not enough to let the infidels know.

    • Christians driving SUVs with V8 engines is a problem. But why do we have that problem? Because there are transport trucks driving on the same roads. That is also a problem. But why do we have this problem? Because that’s the way our infrastructure is oriented with regards to our economy. Where infrastructure is concerned, of course the government has a role.

  3. Christian Bourreau, why would the average man want to learn Arabic, and why go to Egypt to learn Arabic when there are classes in Canada? … get over it.

    • Learning any language is a commendable endeavour. French immersion programs do send their students on trips to France. So, alternately, maybe what is presenting itself is the demand for government to design Arabic programs that involve trips to Egypt.

Sign in to comment.