New government will need to address extremism

A new report on extremism in Alberta paints a less-than-flattering picture.
Apparently, we have a disproportionate amount of extremist movements, a rogues gallery that runs the gamut from white supremacists to anarchists to ISIS sympathizers, with stops in between.
That news was in a report from the Organization for the Prevention of Violence, which was given federal grant to look into the matter.
For those following the news, the findings aren’t that surprising.
When it comes to Alberta, there is concern with radicalized individuals sympathetic to ISIS, anti-government extremists, left-wing extreme groups, so-called patriot groups and the more brazen white supremacists.
All of the groups called out in the report carry with them varying degrees of concern related to violence or threats of violence.

The positive news is that in the grand scheme of things, at most, according to the numbers, we’re talking about a few hundred at most, but as shown by the actions of a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Va. or by the actions of a man in a U-Haul truck in Edmonton, it doesn’t take many do inflict harm.
This is good knowledge to have, especially for the incoming provincial government.
Premier-desigate Jason Kenney and his UCP campaigned on a comprehensive crime platform, which is laudable, especially when talking about rural crime.
But dealing with groups with extreme views is something the government will have to address in due time.

Yes, the UCP platform does address increasing security for ethno-cultural groups that are at risk for being targets of hate crimes.
The grants will allow groups to fortify security at offices, centres or places of worship.
These are a great start.
But, as the OPV report states, better training for police and funding for specialized units are needed.
If the new provincial government is serious about dealing with crime, and dealing with hate crimes, or other extremist violence, it needs to explore ways to address some of the report’s findings.
There certainly are larger crime problems in Alberta, but a small problem can become a big one if it isn’t tackled promptly.



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