Manitoba

ISIS fighter's mom says focus in Aaron Driver case needs to be reconnection

Christianne Boudreau says the focus in Winnipeg's case of Aaron Driver, an ISIS supporter, needs to be on acceptance and rebuilding of personal relationships.

'We're quick to point fingers and we're quick to judge,' Christianne Boudreau says

A picture of Chris Boudreau and her son, Damian Clairmont, taken in November 2011, which was one year before he left for Syria. (Chris Boudreau)

Christianne Boudreau is weighing in on the Winnipeg case of Aaron Driver, a known ISIS supporter. 

She says the focus for the people surrounding Driver needs to be on acceptance and rebuilding of personal relationships.

Boudreau's son Damian Clairmont died in Syria in January 2014 after travelling there from Calgary to fight for ISIS. 

Driver, 23, has been active on social media in recent years, frequently posting supportive views for ISIS in groups online. On June 4, Driver was arrested by RCMP and held until Friday when he was released on 25 bail conditions

The Driver case represents action that was taken later than it should have been, Boudreau said, and even still the proper supports are not in place to help Driver or his family. 

"It's something that we should be looking out for much earlier on," she told CBC's Information Radio

"We're quick to point fingers and we're quick to judge."

Right now, as a society, we're focused on ISIS, but soon another group will have taken its place. This problem isn't going anywhere, Boudreau said. 

"For Aaron Driver's family, they're all going to be impacted. Who's helping them? Who is there for them to help them work through this? Who's supporting them? How come we don't have those supports and why are we waiting until it gets to this point?" she said.

If Boudreau had a chance to do things differently with her own son, she said she would do everything she could to stay connected with him.

"Maintain that connection without trying to judge him, without pushing him further away and creating conflict," she said.

'It's about acceptance, love and understanding'

Among the conditions Driver was released with, was an agreement to attend religious counselling and to be monitored by GPS 24/7. 

"There needs to be some support and counselling so he can express some things that have troubled him. But to force it to be a certain type, I don't know if that's necessarily the right way to go," Boudreau said. 

"In the beginning, he's going to reject it anyway because as an ISIS supporter they reject the western views and mainstream Islam. We have to get past that first."

The key things that Driver needs now is redirection and support, Boudreau said, giving him support to lean on so he can pull away from the ties he has to the extremist group.

"It's about acceptance, love and understanding."

Boudreau said while GPS monitoring seems extreme, she thinks the priority of keeping him in Canada and out of prison is a good place to start. 

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