BRAMPTON, ONT. -- As former deputy director of CSIS Jack Hooper says in a smart new documentary on the Air India bombing, "At the early stages of a conspiracy, the nature of the terrorist beast is that the plan has not crossed the line into criminality."
But comedy? Oh hell yes. It's never too early in a terrorist conspiracy, alleged or otherwise, for comedy.
Thus it was that yesterday, as the trial of the only youth still charged in the so-called Toronto 18 terrorism case began in earnest, Mr. Justice John Sproat of Ontario Superior Court must have felt his command of the language rapidly plummeting as the voices of some of the alleged conspirators filled the courtroom in what can only be described as a unique Canuck-gangbanger-meets-the-Prophet dialect, with most of the conversations beginning roughly like this: "Yo, peace be upon you" and ending with " 'Shallah" (the short form of inshallah, or "God willing") and occasional purely Canadian exclamations over geography ("Yo, look at that view, eh?") with dutiful product placement buys for Tim Hortons, Harvey's and Canadian Tire.
Not even the federal Liberals, trust me, could make this stuff up.
For months now, as this trial has approached a state of readiness and bail hearings and various other court proceedings for some of the other 10 remaining defendants have come and gone, the papers have been filled with tittering stories about the clown princes of Canadian terrorism, the suggestion overt or sly but always there that surely no one could possibly pronounce this lot a real threat to national security. Why, goes the popular refrain, this hapless lot couldn't organize a one-car funeral, let alone anything more sinister.
Clown Princes of Canadian Terrorism sums it beautifully.