Canada election 2015: Stephen Harper proposes banning travel to extremist hotspots

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Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said today if re-elected he will introduce legislation that will make it a criminal offence for Canadians to travel to parts of the world under the control of extremist groups.

“A re-elected Conservative government will designate travel to places that are ground zero for terrorist activity a criminal offence,” Harper said Sunday during a campaign stop in the Ottawa riding of West-Nepean.

“We are talking about the most dangerous places on earth, where governance is nonexistent and violence is widespread and brutal.”

The proposed law would apply to certain “declared areas” Harper said, though he did not name any specific locations.

He indicated exceptions might be made for some individuals — such as aid workers, diplomats and journalists — but maintained there are “few legitimate reasons” to travel to such parts of the world.

Harper touted the Conservatives’ record on security while warning about the threat represented by ISIS and other extremist groups, in particular from members of those groups who return to Canada after training abroad.

The proposed law would see national security agencies tracking Canadians who travel to the areas deemed extremist hotspots.

Similar laws exist in Australia, which has designated parts of Iraq and Syria as no-travel zones.

The Tory candidate in West-Nepean, former police officer Abdul Abdi, stepped in following the departure of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

Following his appearance in Ottawa, Harper is expected at a rally in Quebec, where the Tories hope to make gains in the Oct. 19 election.

Harper will end the day in Toronto, revving up for a week of crisscrossing the country

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