Foiled attack puts spotlight on Canada PM's security revamp

Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:17pm EDT
 
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By Andrea Hopkins

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The death of a Canadian supporter of Islamic State who authorities said was preparing an imminent attack has increased calls for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to abandon his plan to scale back a 2015 law that gave increased powers to police and intelligence agents.

But those calls are unlikely to translate into widespread public resistance to changing the law, as long as the Liberal government can frame it as a change that protects civil rights, pollsters and political analysts said on Friday.

"The Liberals have to try to not fall into the trap of looking like they're weakening the legislation," said pollster Nik Nanos.

Aaron Driver, 24, was killed by police in a raid on Wednesday in a small Ontario town after authorities received "credible information of a potential terrorist threat."

News of how close Driver came to carrying out an attack sparked a call from the Conservative opposition and others for police and intelligence officers to have more power to stop would-be attackers.

Driver was under a so-called "peace bond" that restricted some of his activities. The conditions of that bond were relaxed in recent months, including a requirement that he wear a monitoring bracelet.

"They never should have varied the conditions. The second he took off that bracelet, it was over," said an RCMP source who declined to be named because the source was not authorized to speak to the media.

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An image of Aaron Driver, a Canadian man killed by police on Wednesday who had indicated he planned to carry out an imminent rush-hour attack on a major Canadian city, is projected on screens during a news conference with Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Deputy Commissioner Mike Cabana (L) and Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Strachan in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 11, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie