A Pakistani man planned to use remote-controlled bombs to blow up the U.S. Consulate and other buildings in Toronto's financial district, authorities said on Wednesday.
Jahanzeb Malik, 33, was arrested on Monday following a lengthy investigation by security and anti-terrorism personnel, said the Canada Border Services Agency. He has not been charged and the allegations have not been proven.
Malik was ordered held in custody on "security grounds" pending deportation following an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing on Wednesday. He appeared via video link from Lindsay, Ont.
According to CBSA, Malik befriended and attempted to radicalize an undercover RCMP officer, showing him videos of beheadings by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants. He also told the officer that he wanted to make a video of the planned attacks in Toronto to encourage others to do the same.
The CBSA also alleges that Malik attempted to help the undercover officer make an explosive device that could be detonated remotely.
Malik also allegedly claimed to be a friend of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born al-Qaeda cleric who was killed in 2011 during an airstrike in Yemen.
According to the CBSA, Malik had been under investigation since September of last year.
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada plans to review the detention order on Monday.
Deportation may be 'simplest' option: intelligence expert
Tom Quiggin, an Ottawa-based court expert in intelligence and terrorism, told CBC Radio's Metro Morning it's "unusual" Malik hasn't been charged, but deporting him may be the most effective way of dealing with the alleged threat he poses.
"Deporting him may be the simplest, most effective and most direct way of dealing with the problem," Quiggin said.
"He’s not actually a citizen, so that makes deportation a relatively simple, straight forward method."
Quiggin said holding a trial in Malik's case would be costly and time-consuming.
The CBSA, however, could deport Malik for something as simple as lying about his past when he came to Canada.
Came to Canada in 2004
Malik immigrated to Canada in 2004 as a student and became a permanent resident in 2009, according to CBSA. He travelled frequently between Pakistan and Canada.
Authorities also say he had taken weapons, combat and landmine training in Libya.
The government hasn't said why it's choosing to deport Malik rather than charge him criminally.
During a news conference in Ottawa, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said he wouldn't comment on that issue, citing operational matters.
But Blaney did say "the RCMP has clearly indicated that this individual was willing to commit a terrorist attack on Canadian soil."
Malik's lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment.
Move to deport 'a little strange,' security expert says
Security expert Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former CSIS agent, told CBC News Network that the government should consider prosecuting Malik despite the cost of a trial.
"They want to try and avoid that lengthy exercise, and simply send him to Pakistan, hoping that he will be arrested immediately and also prosecuted," he said.
But, Juneau-Katsuya said, "we have him, we should be able to deal with this guy."
"I do not necessarily have the greatest confidence that in Pakistan, this will be treated like it should."