Terrorist attacks should spark manhunts, not soul searching: Harper - Macleans.ca

Terrorist attacks should spark manhunts, not soul searching: Harper


LONDON – Terrorist attacks should prompt manhunts, not soul searching, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday in a thinly veiled jab at his new Liberal rival.

“When you see this type of violent act, you do not sit around trying to rationalize it or make excuses for it or figure out its root causes,” Harper said before leaving London after attending Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.

“You condemn it categorically, and to the extent you can deal with the perpetrators, you deal with them as harshly as possible.”

Harper’s comments appeared to be a direct rebuttal to a CBC interview with Justin Trudeau, in which the Liberal leader said examining the causes of terrorist attacks are important amid the security response.

“We have to look at the root causes,” Trudeau said. “Now, we don’t know now if it was terrorism or a single crazy or a domestic issue or a foreign issue.

“But there is no question that this happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded. Completely at war with innocents. At war with a society. And our approach has to be, where do those tensions come from?”

On Wednesday, Trudeau was asked to elaborate on what he meant by “root causes.”

“Obviously, we have to make sure that as we move forward we look at creating a safe community, a safe country, a safe world for all citizens and all individuals,” he replied.

“And that happens both with security and with a significant commitment to peace, as highlighted in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Given Boston’s proximity to the border, Canadian officials have ramped up security in the wake of the attacks as American officials continue their hunt for clues and suspects in the explosions, which killed three and left 170 wounded.

Harper said the U.S. did not ask Canada to take any specific measures related to the attack.

“All governments, all leaders are following these kinds of violent activities anywhere in the world,” he said.

“We’re obviously continuing to talk to our American colleagues … we will be following this closely and do whatever we have to do to adapt.”

— With files from Joan Bryden in Ottawa

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