Canada’s defence minister says vigilance against terrorism is required even in the North Okanagan.
While speaking with cadets at the Vernon Army Camp Saturday, Jason Kenney touched on the ongoing aerial bombardment of ISIS in Syria and referred to it as a “genocidal, terrorist organization.”
“When the world is confronted with evil, Canada stands up,” he told The Morning Star.
And while the North Okanagan is some distance from Ottawa or major urban centres, he insists local residents can’t ignore what is going on globally.
“We just had a trial in Vancouver with radicalized British Columbians,” he said.
“The threats are real and in our midst. We can’t bury our heads in the sand.”
He also linked the pilots fighting ISIS to the youth activities that take place in Vernon.
“Many of them started in the cadets.”
Some North Okanagan residents have rallied against the federal government’s Bill C-51, but Kenney says the anti-terrorism legislation allows for information sharing among various agencies.
“There’s been a lot of unfounded fear-mongering about reasonable legislation,” he said.
“This won’t infringe on anyone’s civil liberties. The greatest civil liberty is to live in security.”
While meeting with the cadets, Kenney observed demonstrations of their skills and asked them about their career plans.
“This is the most important youth program in the country,” he said of the cadets.
“It teaches discipline, relevant skills and love of country and the kids have fun doing all of the above.”
The federal Conservatives will seek another term in the fall, and polls presently show the NDP leading the pack in B.C. and a virtual three-way tie between the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP nationally.
However, Kenney says he is confident Canadians will rally around his party.
“We have a strong message to convey about economic growth and a crackdown on crime,” he said.
Kenney also participated in a ceremony at the Pleasant Valley cemetery to commemorate individuals who died in the First World War internment camp in Vernon.