Caliphate podcast shifted debate on repatriation: expert
Canada has duty and capacity to bring back its citizens, says Leah West
In 2018, a Canadian claimed in the New York Times' podcast Caliphate that he had travelled to Syria to fight with ISIS, had carried out executions before returning to Canada, and was free in Toronto.
That report sparked outrage and shock across the country and on Parliament Hill.
Late last month, the RCMP arrested the man at the centre of the podcast and accused him of lying about his involvement with ISIS.
But the reaction to the podcast marked a significant shift in the debate over how, and whether, Canada should bring detained ISIS fighters and their families back to this country, said Leah West.
The Carleton University lecturer and national security expert spoke with Chris Hall on The House, arguing that Canada has both the responsibility and the capacity to repatriate the dozens of Canadians — many of them children — still in Syrian camps.
West said the release of the Caliphate podcast and the ensuing reaction caught the public's attention and changed the federal government's approach to the issue. Now, she said, it's time for a debate based on facts.
"This individual who said that they committed egregious crimes has been alleged to have made it all up. So we need to have a new conversation and it needs to be one based on the actual facts," she said.
Listen to the full segment here: