FILE – A Canadian flag sits on a members of Canadian forces that are leaving from CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on October 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

FILE – A Canadian flag sits on a members of Canadian forces that are leaving from CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on October 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Long pandemic could add to extremism, decline in democracy: Defence Department report

The federal Liberal government has identified the rise of right-wing extremism and hate as a major threat

A new research report by the Department of National Defence suggests the longer the COVID-19 pandemic rages, the stronger right-wing extremism and other threats in Canada and around the world are likely to become.

The report prepared by the Defence Department’s research arm lays out a range of political, economic and security challenges that could emerge — or become more prominent — depending on how long the pandemic remains.

To that end, it looks at what may happen in a best-case scenario that would see COVID-19 brought under control by the end of this year, as well as the potential ramifications should the pandemic last past 2023 and — as a worst case — 2025.

The best-case scenario would see effective vaccines rolled out quickly, which would not only kickstart a strong economic recovery but also boost trust in the governments, international institutions and science that ended the pandemic.

Yet even if that happens, reads the Defence Research and Development Canada report, “we can expect that the adversarial states will remain those already identified as such prior to the pandemic, including China, Iran, North Korea and Russia.”

The same is true for right-wing extremism, which the report prepared in October for NATO military alliance planners says is already on the rise around the world — and is likely to continue to rise, particularly the longer COVID-19 remains out of control.

The federal Liberal government has identified the rise of right-wing extremism and hate as a major threat to Canada, while the Canadian Armed Forces has started working to weed such behaviour and ideology from the ranks.

Public trust in governments, particularly in democracies such as Canada, will also likely suffer the longer the pandemic remains, according to the report, along with confidence in international organizations like the United Nations and NATO.

“The world will continue to experience conflict regardless of which future is closest to the events that transpire in the coming years,” the report adds.

“Clearly, conflict can be expected to be more prevalent and increasingly violent in a baseline and more still in a worst case than in a best-case-type outcome.”

The international community’s ability to respond to such conflicts, whether they are wars between countries or inside them, will similarly be negatively affected based on the state of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has acted to accelerate existing global trends so it follows that the longer and more severely it plays out, the greater the impact will be on international security,” the report said.

“Military planners would be wise to keep this metric in mind as they consider the challenges that their nations and the NATO alliance faces.”

ALSO READ: Judge bans Proud Boys leader from Washington after arrest

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay council
City of Courtenay receives $4 million Safe Restart Grant

In the fall, the City of Courtenay received a $4.149 million ‘COVID-19… Continue reading

A single-vehicle motor vehicle incident slowed traffic on Highway 19A Wednesday afternoon.
Single-vehicle motor vehicle incident causes delays in Courtenay

Roads were wet with a mixture of snow and rain falling throughout the day

Flowers poke through the snow in Courtenay as the area got a taste of winter weather this week. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Valley not out of the winter woods quite yet: meteorologist

“It’s winter; we’ve got to get through it together.”

The Village of Cumberland is moving ahead on bringing in possible speed limit reductions. Record file photo
Cumberland council moves on slower speed zones

Mayor says goal is to have ‘blanket zone’ in place by summer

Wind turbines are seen on a dike near Urk, Netherlands, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. A group of scientists, including five Nobel laureates, called Friday for more action to adapt the world to the effects of climate change, drawing comparisons with the faltering response to the coronavirus crisis, ahead of a major online conference on climate adaptation starting Monday and hosted by the Netherlands. (AP Photo / Peter Dejong)
Comox Valley groups host course on actively implementing solutions to climate change

The Sustainable Action group for the Environment (SAGE) and the Comox Valley… Continue reading

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read