Politics on TV: Reacting to the Boston manhunt - Macleans.ca

Politics on TV: Reacting to the Boston manhunt

The three things you need to see


Here are the three things you should not have missed:

  1. MPs react to the Boston manhunt
  2. The Chechnya and Dagestan connection
  3. Boisvert on Radicalization

MP reaction:

As the manhunt in Boston continued, and with assurances by Vic Toews that CBSA and the RCMP are at a heightened state of awareness, Power & Politics hosted an MP panel of Kellie Leitch, Jack Harris and Francis Scarpaleggia to discuss this, and the government’s decision to reschedule opposition days next week in order to deal with the anti-terrorism bill, S-7. Leitch said that terrorism needs to be combated, and the government was focused on that by means of the bill, and by staying vigilant. Harris said that the bill doesn’t address the prevention of terrorism, and that the government needs to start finding ways of detecting when people go from radical thoughts to getting involved in violence. He also expressed concern about people making all ethnic Chechans suspect. Scarpaleggia said that the Liberals were supporting S-7, as it brings back many of the measures they first introduced in 2001 (which later sunsetted) and adds a new offence for those who leave the country to engage in an act of terrorism.

Chechnya and Dagestan:

Hannah Thibedeau spoke with Jean-François Ratelle from George Washington University about the revelation that the two suspects were Chechan in origin. Ratelle said that they could have been radicalised by the al-Qaida information available on the Internet instead of by recruiters, as they would have been more vulnerable to that kind of influence if they weren’t able to fully integrate into society. Ratelle noted that in Dagestan, where the pair had also spent part of their lives, a lot of young people don’t want to engage in radicalism or terrorism, but can turn to it when they are marginalized and repressed by police for appearing to be outwardly Muslim, and can’t find work as a result of that harassment. Ratelle also noted that because Chechan society is based on honour and shame, it should not be a surprise that the family would say that the pair are being framed, in order to avoid that shame.

Ray Boisvert:

Thibedeau spoke with former Assistant Director of Intelligence at CSIS, Ray Boisvert, who said that the manhunt in Boston would have been difficult police situation because of its fluidity and the need to ensure public safety while conducting the search. Boisvert said that the suspect had time on his side, and knows the area, which gives him an advantage. On the subject of radicalization, Boisvert said that the two suspects had some common elements, like disaffection, difficulty in fitting in, not quite seeing a clear purpose in their lives, an older mentor where the younger brother looked up to him, some foreign training, and now people will question how it happened under their noses. Boisvert also noted that they were very prepared, and were likely planning the bomb attack up to a year in advance.

Note: There was no episode of Power Play today in favour of continued manhunt coverage.

It was also Hannah Thibedeau’s last day as the regular Friday host of Power & Politics, as she moves back to mornings and Rosemary Barton returns from maternity leave next week. I’d like to give a special shout out to Thibedeau for her tenacity when it came to not letting certain MPs stick to their talking points.