Advocating for Victims of Terror

Representing Terror Victims from Communities across Canada

Secure Canada (formerly the Canadian Coalition Against Terror or C-CAT) was founded by Canadian 9/11 family members.  Secure Canada’s founders have never wavered from their commitment to transform their personal experience with terrorism into a vehicle to protect others from suffering a similar fate.  

Bridging Party Lines

“I commend C-CAT for encouraging a substantive dialogue on terrorism. You have … galvanized divergent groups across the country to unite against those that seek to undermine the cohesiveness of Canadian society.”

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper (May 2009) 

“The importance of your work is unquestioned…. The advice and input of the Canadian Coalition Against Terror on issues of Canadian policy towards terrorism have proven invaluable to the work of New Democrats in Parliament. But your contribution has not been limited to your role in policy. Your support and advocacy for the victims of terrorism … continues to be indispensable to those Canadians rebuilding their lives in the wake of terror.”

Former NDP Leader Jack Layton (Apr. 2009) 

“I would like to highlight the efforts of the Canadian Coalition Against Terror. The coalition has worked tirelessly on behalf of Canadian victims of terror ensuring that their voices are heard in Ottawa and throughout Canada.”

Former Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan (on the floor of Parliament – Apr. 2009) 

The UN, and Victims of Terror 

“Victims of terrorism are uniquely placed to highlight the impact of terrorism on individuals, families and communities. They are credible messengers; they give a face to the effects of terrorism; they are well placed to communicate alternative narratives; and they are critical and important voices in preventing violent extremism and in condemning violent methods used by terrorist groups.”

UN Counterterrorism Centre (UNCCT) (2018) 

“Still too often we pay more attention to the voices of terrorists than those of their victims. By giving a human face to the consequences of terrorism, you help build a global culture against it….”

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Sept. 2008) 

Former UN Diplomat Victor Comras Lauds C-CAT:

“C-CAT stands out as one of the most useful and effective private citizen organizations contributing to the international counter-terrorism effort. It has built an effective alliance linking families of the victims of terrorism with the legal community and other public and private institutions and sectors interested in having an input on Canada’s counter-terrorism policies. This has included the formulation and promotion of keystone measures to reform Canada’s anti-terrorism program.” (Apr. 2008) 

(Victor Comras served under appointment by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as one of five international monitors to oversee the implementation of Security Council measures against terrorism and terrorism financing. In 2009 he was appointed as the US member of the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on North Korean Sanctions.) 

C-CAT’s Ambassador on Terror Victims Issues 

Selected Highlights 2018-2019:

Maureen addressed the United Nations International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism at the UN Headquarters in NYC 

August 21, 2019

Maureen with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Maureen addressed the 2019 United Nations International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism at the UN Headquarters in New York City.

She was celebrated as an example of the important role of victims in countering terrorism. In addition to co-founding the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, a UN-recognized organization supporting victims of terror, Maureen was a driving force towards establishing Canada’s National Day of Service.

Maureen opens Iftar Dinner, hosting Conservative leader Andrew Scheer

May 29, 2019

Maureen providing remarks at an Iftar Dinner, hosting Conservative leader Andrew Scheer

On May 29, 2019, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer attended an Iftar Dinner hosted by Muslims Facing Tomorrow (MFT), cosponsored by C-CAT and One Free World International. The event, attended by 225 people, was comprised primarily of members of Muslim communities from across the GTA. The Muslim attendees included members of the Sunni and Shia Pakistani communities, the Iranian Shia and Baha’i communities, the Ismaili and Ahmadiyya communities, the Sufi community, and the Uighur community. Members of various Christian denominations including Pakistani Christians and several Middle Eastern churches, as well as members of the Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish and Hindu communities also attended. C-CAT cofounder Maureen Basnicki opened the evening and brought Ramadan greetings to the room from Canadian terror victims.

Maureen testifies before the Justice Committee on Bill C-75 

September 25, 2018

“… My name is Maureen Basnicki. I am the co-founder of the Canadian Coalition Against Terror…. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to address both House and Senate committees regrading many topics concerning terrorism, counterterrorism initiatives, and advocating for victims of violent crime, which includes Canadians victimized by terrorists…. 

In that context, I would like to speak to you about some of what is contained in this legislation that concerns me greatly…. The government has used the anodyne term “hybridization” to refer to more than a hundred changes they are making to sentencing provisions in the Criminal Code. However, it is clear that what is happening here is simply a reduction in sentences. I would particularly like to speak to clauses 16, 17, and 20 to 23….” 

Standing with “Women on the Front Lines”

March 17, 2019

Excerpts from Maureen’s remarks on fighting extremism and antisemitism:

“… I am here today because I am alarmed. 

I am alarmed because … Jewish communities across the globe are being threatened by the emergence of a new and virulent strain of anti-Semitism promoted by the extreme right — the extreme left– and by Islamist extremists. One that is uncompromising — unrelenting — and often genocidal in intent or expression. 

…. But politicians like UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Congresswomen Omar and their fellow travelers, are perhaps even more pernicious than the white supremacists and the Islamist extremists who openly state their animosity to the Jewish people and to western values. Unlike Hezbollah or the Ayatollahs of Iran, Corbyn and the others are institutionalizing antisemitism under the guise of human rights and universal values. They are normalizing it in halls of western governance and legitimizing the genocidal narrative of groups like Hamas and Al-Qaeda in western political discourse. This is not a passing phenomenon but an escalating and permanent presence in our political reality and a flashpoint for western parliamentarians. 

I would therefore like to close with one simple message for our leaders in Ottawa and the west. When white supremacists talk about murdering Jews in synagogues — shooting Muslims in mosques — or gunning down Sikhs in temples – take them seriously. When Islamist extremists – like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban or Boko Haram — talk about slaughtering Muslim – Christian — or other religious minorities — take them seriously. When Hamas — and Hezbollah — describe the Jewish people as a global evil that must be eradicated; — when Iran threatens to wipe the Jewish state out of history — When antisemites like Linda Sarsour and other leaders of the Women’s March, stand with Louis Farrakhan who refers to Jews as termites to be exterminated – they must be taken seriously. When western leaders like President Barak Obama refer to ISIS as “a junior Varsity team” of terror – we need to take that seriously. 

If nothing else, I would all of you to take a look at me – a Canadian just like you — who is here today because Osama bin Laden and the Islamist extremist threat was not taken seriously as a threat prior to the west 9/11…. As women on the frontlines our hashtag in this case is certainly not “me-too” — but perhaps the opposite. — Not you – not anyone – not ever again….”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice apologizes to Maureen Basnicki on the floor of Parliament

September 26, 2018:

MP Michael Cooper at Justice Committee meeting #108 on September 25, 2018

MP Michael Cooper St. Albert—Edmonton, AB:

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, 9/11 widow Maureen Basnicki appeared before the justice committee where she criticized the government’s $10.5-million payout to al Qaeda terrorist Omar Khadr.

Instead of showing respect toward Ms. Basnicki, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice scolded her. This is beyond shameful. Will the Prime Minister apologize for his parliamentary secretary’s disrespect toward a 9/11 widow? 

September 27, 2018: 

MP Michael Cooper St. Albert—Edmonton, AB:

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice shamefully scolded 9/11 widow Maureen Basnicki for understandably criticizing the current government’s $10.5-million payout to al Qaeda terrorist Omar Khadr. He even went so far as to compare Maureen’s husband, a victim of terrorism, with the convicted terrorist Khadr. Will the parliamentary secretary stand in his place and apologize to Maureen Basnicki? 

September 27, 2018:

Arif Virani – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice 

MP Arif Virani at Justice Committee meeting #108 on September 25, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the deaths that occurred on 9/11 as a result of an unspeakable act of terror at the hands of al Qaeda were a tragedy. I apologize for not being more sensitive at the standing committee to Mrs. Basnicki, a 9/11 widow, about her loss. 

Nevertheless, I remain firm in my conviction that all Canadians should also be outraged whenever a government is complicit in the torture of a Canadian citizen, in direct violation of the Charter of Rights, no matter how heinous that citizen’s crimes. When that complicity in torture occurs, a government should acknowledge it and take responsibility for it, as we have done. 

Maureen Basnicki interviewed in Global News piece on Canadian terror victims 

“A growing number of Canadian victims of overseas terrorism, but little support for them…And what does it say when society turns its back on their victims? And here in Canada, that’s what happens.” 

A growing number of Canadian victims of overseas terrorism, but little support for them

by Stewart Bell, June 18th, 2019 

Fiona Wilson was at work when she heard someone had careened a van down Barcelona’s La Rambla strip, striking dozens of pedestrians.

Her parents had landed in Barcelona that morning, and they were staying right on La Rambla, so she was concerned.

From Vancouver, she worked the phones but information was scarce, and then late that night, she saw them on the TV news.

They were lying on the street, side by side.

Representing C-CAT at London Commemoration of 7/7 –2019

July 7, 2019

Maureen Basnicki represented C-CAT at the 7/7 memorial in London England attended by 7/7 family members and VIPs.

Maureen was accompanied by Jo Dover, an expert in victims issues, who also works with UN on those issues. A national minute of silence was observed in memory of the 52 victims of 7/7. 

Maureen Basnicki and the trial of 9/11 Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) 

May, 2019

In May 2019 Maureen attended a meeting in Naples Florida to meet with the prosecution team in U.S. v. KSM et al. Maureen met with the chief prosecutor, Ed Ryan and both he and Karen Loftus, Director of the Victim Witness Assistance Program (Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Military Commissions) agreed that Maureen may be able to testify at the trial in Guantanamo scheduled for May in 2020. 

Maureen Basnicki Represents C-CAT at INVICTM Conference and the Victims Support Europe Conference 

June 11-13, 2019

INVICTM brings together experts from around the world to improve support for victims of terrorism and mass violence. 

Maureen Basnicki Invited to the Leadership in Counterterrorism (LinCT) Conference hosted for the first time by the Toronto Police Association 

May 2019

“LinCT was initiated in 2004 as a joint leadership project between the FBI, Scottish Police College, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Harvard University and St. Andrews University. There are three primary threads of content that are integrated throughout the program: Counter Terrorism, Intelligence and Leadership. The program is primarily strategic rather than operational. The critical outcomes are to improve inter-agency cooperation through enhanced communications, information sharing and personal relationships.” 

Maureen Basnicki meets with Ontario MPP David Smith Re: Anti-terrorism Legislation 

January 2019

The Bill amends a number of Acts to provide for sanctions for any person convicted of a terrorist offence under any of sections 83.18 to 83.221 of the Criminal Code (Canada). The child of a parent who is convicted of a terrorist offence is considered in need of protection under Part V of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017. As well, a person who is convicted of a terrorist offence is not eligible for any of the following: 

1. A licence under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997

2. Health insurance benefits under the Health Insurance Act

3. A driver’s licence under the Highway Traffic Act

4. Rent-geared-to-income assistance or special needs housing under the Housing Services Act, 2011

5. Grants, awards or loans under the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act

6. Income support or employment supports under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997

7. Assistance under the Ontario Works Act, 1997

8. Coverage under the insurance plan under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997