Northern Exposure


Many Americans, preoccupied with the politics of their southern border, are accustomed to paying scant attention to events beyond their northern boundary. Yet in the past month, dramatic developments in the war on terror have plunged Canada into denunciation, exasperation, and doubt. On the evening of Friday, June 2, hundreds of local, provincial, and federal police officers conducted dozens of raids throughout southern Ontario, arresting seventeen men and boys, and charging them with plotting grave acts of terror. The deeds said to have been prevented by this action ranged from bombing the Canadian Intelligence Agency and seizing the Parliament Buildings, to beheading the prime minister and storming the offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

News that a “home-grown” cell of young male Muslims was allegedly intent on producing a Canadian 9/11 has sparked a media war, with hundreds of stories rehashing the violent tendencies of young males, the nature of Islamic radicalism, the laxness of Canadian security, and so on. The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily, beat the competition so thoroughly on the story that the New York Times ran an article explaining how on top of things the Star is. (The Star quickly repaid the favor by reprinting the Times story as a full-page ad the next day.) Sniping back and forth about who is Muslim-baiting and who is appeasing, who is tough enough and who is too naive,...

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About the Author

Peter Kavanagh is a senior producer on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio program, Current Affairs.