Having radical ideals is not illegal in Canada. Radical movements and the people who support them are not necessarily negative and can bring positive change in society by promoting social, political and economic change. Consider Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Viola Desmond and Tommy Douglas.
Radical ideologies and belief systems become problematic when supporters justify the use of violence to advance their cause. This is called radicalization to violence, which can result in violent extremism, hate crimes and gang involvement.
MERIT’s efforts to address violent extremism
At MERIT, we are uniquely positioned with the funding and opportunity to lead research into prevention and intervention for preventing violent extremism in Ottawa.
Our work is to raise awareness about radicalization to violence (R2VE) through training, improved pro-social pathways and increased capacity. We are supporting teachers and other community service organizations to encourage open dialogue with students in the classroom and improve identification and interventions in schools.
This work, conducted in partnership with the University of Ottawa and l’Université de Montréal, will identify gaps in current services and provide training on best practices in prevention to a variety of stakeholders.
For more information, visit the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence.