Christianne Boudreau, whose 22-year-old son joined the Islamic State and fought alongside the group in Syria until his death, criticized the Canadian government as it failed to protect Aaron Driver and his family.
Aaron Driver confronted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Strathroy and died after triggering an explosive artifact that he aimed to use at a public location. Driver recorded himself in a martyrdom video, pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State. The video was picked up by U.S. authorities who passed the tip to Canada.
“It just broke my heart because there was just so much opportunity for agencies, organizations or anybody to step in and support that family and help turn something around and nobody did,” stated Boudreau after finding out that another young Canadian had fallen a victim of the Islamic State’s influence.
A mother of a radicalized Canadian
Damian Clairmont, Boudreau’s son, was also being watched by authorities until he fled to the Middle East. Boudreau believed that, after converting to Islam, her son had gone to Egypt to study Arabic. Months later it was reported that Clairmont had died on the battlefield in the city of Aleppo in 2014 while fighting alongside the Islamic State.
On the other hand, Aaron Driver had already faced federal charges that put him on a watch list for terrorism. Initially, he was under surveillance, but then he only had to visit a court a couple of times per month while also being forced to live with his sister. Since Driver was not under constant surveillance, he delved deeper into Islamic fundamentalism, which resulted in him trying to stage a suicide bombing.
“It’s as if they think the problem has gone away, that the kids aren’t leaving anymore. They’re acting as if there is no problem, there’s nothing wrong and until they start lending a hand in some of the solutions the kids don’t stand a chance,” she stated.
Boudreau criticized the fact that Driver was “left on his own,” being open to exposure from the Internet and social media, where he had already established contact with Islamic fundamentalist ideology. His family knew about his antics, but it appears that he did not show any sign of wanting to become a martyr on behalf of the Islamic State.
Since his son’s death in the battlefield, Boudreau has been very critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s rule, as she claims that the head of state does not acknowledge radicalization as a problem in Canada. She refers to the fact as “burying their heads in the sand,” where pretending that the problem doesn’t exist will make it disappear.
A heavier media coverage and official referral to the problem of radicalization is most assuredly a way of promoting the problem. But the issue lies in the fact that, whether it is publicly discussed or not, radicalization is making its way into the public spectrum of thought.
Acknowledging Islamic extremism will allow taking further steps to deal with the repercussions of the problem. Ignoring the issue of radical Islam in western countries will only serve to elongate the consequences of a phenomenon that has already been proven to have global implications in the form of unprecedented acts of terrorism.