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

The court will fix a date for sentencing on Feb. 9. File photo
Powell River man pleads guilty to sexual interference of a minor in Grand Forks

The man is awaiting sentencing pending a psychological assessment

Summit Ski Hill had a delayed start to the season because of warm temperatures. Photo: Summit Ski Hill
Late season start frustrating for Nakusp ski hill

Summit Ski Hill only just opened Jan. 14

Four friends were heading to their home on Highway 6 just south of Silverton on the evening of Dec. 25, 2020, when the people in the front of the vehicle saw what looked like a “huge, man-like figure” on the side of the road. (Pixabay.com)
Possible Bigfoot sighting shocks, excites Silverton residents

‘I didn’t see the creature myself, I saw the prints’

The aftermath of Thursday morning’s car crash at Greenwood’s Deadwood Junction, Jan. 14. Photo courtesy of Midway RCMP
Midway RCMP looking driver who left crash outside Greenwood café

Cpl. Phil Peters said Mounties were called to the scene early Thursday morning, Jan. 14

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Andre Robert won $500,000 through a Lotto Extra ticket on Dec. 23, 2020. Photo: Jeanne d’Arc Allard
Creston resident wins $500k through Lotto ticket

“I was surprised. I wasn’t sure if it was true or not.”

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Purcell Wilderness Conservancy expanded with 18 hectares of previously privately-owned land. Photo from BC Parks.
Purcell Wilderness Conservancy expanded following Provincial land acquisition

18 hectares of waterfront added to critical wildlife habitat

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read