John Maguire's passport revoked, Steven Blaney says
Justice Minister Peter MacKay says Ottawa man in Syria is being monitored
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney says Canadian officials revoked the passport of John Maguire, an Ottawa-area man who joined ISIS in Syria and who is calling for Muslims to carry out lone-wolf attacks in Canada.
In a video released over the weekend, Maguire urges his fellow Muslim countrymen to carry out attacks on Canadian targets. The 23-year-old is identified in the video as Abu Anwar al-Canadi and speaks in English.
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Maguire was already reportedly under investigation by the RCMP. It's not clear whether his passport was seized or when it was revoked, although one MP said it was in the "later part of the winter" of 2013, shortly after he left Canada.
"His passport was revoked after he left the country, so his ability to return is very difficult ... though as you saw in the video, I don't think this guy has any intention of coming back to Canada," said James Bezan, parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defence, in an interview with CBC News Network's Power & Politics.
A spokesman for Blaney said the passport was invalidated as soon as officials became aware of Maguire's ties to ISIS.
Blaney said an internal government measure used to assess threats hasn't been heightened as a result of the video.
Arrest by Canadian officials unlikely
Blaney pointed to legislation the government plans to bring to the House to give police more power to deal with cases like Maguire's.
"We are currently working on legislation that would provide more tools to our law enforcement agencies so they are better able to track, build evidence and lay charges," Blaney said.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay called the Maguire case disturbing and said it speaks to the need for vigilance. But Canadian officials likely won't arrest Maguire, he said.
"That is highly unlikely. What we need to do, obviously, to the greatest extent possible, is to monitor his activities," MacKay said on his way into the House of Commons on Monday.
Maguire's video references Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's October attack in which he killed an honour guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa before storming Parliament Hill, where he was shot and killed.
'Why wasn't he arrested?'
Abu Anwar al-Canadi does not appear to be under duress in the video. CBC News does not know if he made the statement of his own free will.
Liberal public safety critic Wayne Easter raised a number of questions, including whether Maguire is one of the approximately80 Canadians who have returned to the country after leaving to participate in suspected terror-related activities.
"If he was being monitored, why did he have the opportunity to leave the country and try and draw others in to an extremist cause and try and turn others against our country?" Easter said.
"Why wasn't he arrested under the authorities that are already there under the laws of Canada? That's what I can't understand."
Easter said there are existing laws that could have been used to arrest or detain someone like Maguire.
"They can't go over to Syria and arrest the guy, but should they have arrested him before he left?" he said.