Safety minister cites ‘explosive cocktail’ of ideology, addiction, mental illness

The federal public safety minister suggests an explosive cocktail of mental health problems, drug addiction and extremist ideology prompted the recent killing of a soldier in Ottawa.

OTTAWA — The federal public safety minister suggests an explosive cocktail of mental health problems, drug addiction and extremist ideology prompted the recent killing of a soldier in Ottawa.

Steven Blaney told a security conference today that Canada must be vigilant about threat posed by people who become radicalized for any reason.

The Conservative government was quick to label the deadly shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial an act of terrorism.

It soon after emerged that the killer, Michael Zehaf Bibeau, had abused drugs, spent time in homeless shelters and displayed erratic behaviour.

The RCMP says a video the man recorded before the shooting indicates his actions were rooted in his religious beliefs and opinion of Canada’s foreign policy.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says the Oct. 22 shooting was a criminal act, but he does not consider it terrorism.

Blaney is urging passage of a government bill that would ensure the ability of Canada’s spy agency to track suspects overseas and provide blanket protection to informants.

In the House of Commons, Blaney said Canada faces “a serious terrorist threat — one we must address with strong measures.”