Should Canada close its borders in the face of terrorism?

Matthew Coutts

An alleged attempt to execute a terrorist plot on Canadian soil has many residents reconsidering our country’s place in the world and reevaluating the relationship that Canada has with terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

The RCMP announced on Monday that they had arrested two Canadian residents in connection to an al-Qaeda-sponsored plan to derail a passenger train outside of Toronto. The two suspects are long-time residents of Canada, but not citizens.

Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, is believed to have come to Canada to study and Raed Jaser, 35, is a permanent resident who has lived in the Toronto-area for several years.

The alleged plot to target a VIA Rail passenger train is only the latest incident of Canadian-linked terrorism. Two young men from London, Ont., recently participated in an attack on an Algerian gas plant. The two have been linked to two former friends, who are also suspected of being connected to terrorist groups.

[ Related: RCMP claim arrests thwarted terror attack on Canadian train ]

There was also the “Toronto 18” group said to be behind a 2006 plot to bomb the CSIS headquarters, Toronto Stock Exchange and various other targets, as well as storm Parliament Hill and behead the prime minister.

Canada's Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has argued that Canada’s immigrations laws make it a haven for terrorist activity. A bill to tighten immigration laws and crack down on terrorism is currently being debated in the House of Commons.

So we ask:

Does Canada need to take stronger measures to discourage terrorism within our borders, or is it important to maintain open immigration policies?