Canada to tighten borders, aims to disrupt 'jihadist' financing

Thu Jun 4, 2015 1:09pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada plans to tighten its border security by collecting fingerprints and other biometric data from more foreign travelers, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday.

He also said his Conservative federal government would commit additional resources to help the country's spy agency and tax collection agency interrupt "jihadist terrorism."

Harper said the expansion would help Canada shut down charities that finance Islamist militancy and track fraudulent immigrants and those traveling to and from battlefields abroad.

"We’ll make sure people are who they say they are," Harper said. "You can fake your name, you can fake your documents, but you cannot fake your fingerprints."

All travelers entering Canada on a visa must undergo biometric screening, a sharp jump from the current requirement for citizens of 29 countries to supply fingerprints and other personal information.

Biometrics refers to technologies than measure and authenticate human body characteristics, such as fingerprints, eye retina scans, and voice patterns.

Travelers will pay a fee to recoup the costs of the additional screening, Harper said.

Canada, like other Western nations, is trying to stem a flow of disaffected, mostly young, Muslims who want to join movements such as Islamic State.   Continued...

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 12, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie