Harper vows to ban “travel zones” that contain terrorist entities

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UPDATE: On a campaign stop in Markham on Monday morning, Harper defended his travel ban proposal and clarified that it would take place in only a number of small areas.

““This is limited to only those areas that are clearly under the control of terrorist organizations,” Harper said.

Canadians have no right to travel to parts of the world where terrorist activities are taking place, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Harper made the speech as part of his campaign tour in Ottawa on Sunday.

He stated that a re-elected Conservative government would seek legislation making it illegal for Canadians to travel in certain zones within foreign states. These zones will be called “declared areas,” and will consist of places where “listed terrorist entities such as ISIS are engaged in hostile activities, and are recruiting and training followers.”

The statement is part of Harper’s pledge to combat terrorism, and crack down on homegrown terror threats.

It is not yet clear where exactly would be deemed illegal for travel, but parts of Syria and Iraq are amongst the most likely to be targeted for such a legislature.

Australia has already passed a similar legislation, and has banned travel to the al-Raqqa province in Syria as well as the Mosul district in Iraq.

“The global rise of global jihadist movement is something we are reminded of in some part or other in the world almost every day,” Harper said.

He referenced the October 22, 2014 Parliament Hill shooting that saw the killing of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo — an attack which was later praised by ISIS.

Harper’s statement made it clear that the legislation would still allow travel to those areas for people with “legitimate reasons.” Journalists and those providing humanitarian aid would be amongst exemptions.

“Individuals, for reasons you and I will never understand, turn their backs on our country and indeed turn their backs on civilization itself to travel oversees to join jihadist causes,” Harper said in his speech. “Eventually some of will try to return home bringing with them whatever terrorist training they have received, to become a direct threat to the security of this country.”

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Behdad Mahichi is currently an Editorial Assistant at Vancity Buzz and a journalism student at Ryerson University. He writes about anything from entertainment and politics to his misfortunately extreme caffeine addiction.
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