Counterterrorism and Identities: Canadian Viewpoints

Jack Jedwab

September 2015

The importance of analyzing public perceptions regarding national security cannot be underestimated when identifying counterterrorism approaches. Increasingly, maintaining public safety is considered a shared responsibility between the State and its citizens. Policy-makers seek cooperation with civil society and view community outreach as key to preventing terrorism. Public support and confidence is thus vital to institutions combatting terrorism.

Counterterrorism and Identities: Canadian Viewpoints monitors several factors shaping Canadian public opinion on terrorism. A detailed analysis of relevant and evolving perceptions is presented. This assessment is essential for researchers, policy-makers and community leaders looking to comprehend the mind-set of Canadians regarding terrorism.

Jack Jedwab is President of the Association for Canadian Studies and of the Canadian Institute of Identities and Migration. From 1994 to 1998 he served as Executive Director of the Quebec Region of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Dr. Jedwab, who holds a doctoral degree in Quebec history from Concordia University, has written essays in books, scholarly journals and in newspapers across the country and is the founding editor of the magazines Canadian Issues and Canadian Diversity. Most recently he co-authored a new introduction for University of Toronto Press’s 50th anniversary edition of John Porter’s Canadian sociological classic, The Vertical Mosaic.

“This book presents data that will surprise some and anger others. That makes it a must-read volume for people interested in effective counterterrorism policies. Paying close attention to the surveys Jedwab has conducted can help us understand the role of age, region, language, religion, and ethnicity in the ways Canadians respond to both real and imagined security challenges.”

– Dr. Paul Bramadat, Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria


“The issue of Canadian youth becoming radicalized and committing violent crimes at home and abroad has quickly developed into an alarming security threat. Jedwab’s book on public perceptions of national security of Canadians provides essential information for the analysis of community and social roles in combating the development of radicalization. It is important data for informing evidence-based policies and programs for counterterrorism.”

– Dr. Ratna Ghosh, James McGill Professor and William C. Macdonald Professor of Education at McGill University

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What they say


"Do Canadians agree that concessions should be made to terrorists to secure the release of a Canadian being held hostage? While most Canadians prefer negotiation, there is a fundamental difference on the basis of age, with the youngest segment of the population considerably more open to negotiating than the oldest group. Yet in terms of state-sponsored terrorism, most Canadians concur that military strength is the only effective deterrent, but persons below thirty-five are less likely to see military strength as the only solution compared those above thirty-five."

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