The Parallel Threat: Political Framing and Right-Wing Extremism in Canada and the United States


In the wake of the September 11 attacks, drastic measures were taken to secure the US homeland, as well as to curtail what was understood as an imminent and transnational threat: Islamist-inspired terrorism (IIT). Political decision-makers immediately tightened the borders, erected new security agencies, adopted sweeping antiterrorism legislation, and initiated the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, in the months and years that followed, a parallel threat emerged: right-wing extremism (RWE). Often overlooked, right-wing extremists have committed more violent attacks in Canada and the US than any other form of extremism over the past twenty years (Habib, 2019; Bjorgo and Ravndal, 2019). And in that same time, both countries have allocated far more resources – financial, institutional, and legal – towards countering IIT. Given the above, this brief discusses the findings from one component of the broader research question asked in my doctoral dissertation: Why have Canada and the United States allocated more resources countering IIT than RWE, even though the number of incidents and fatalities caused by the latter outnumber the former? Specifically, this component of the research asked about the links between the composition of an electoral district (whether it was primarily homogenous or primarily heterogeneous) and how politicians framed violent extremist attacks.

Download Research Brief


Research Area(s):

Societal Impact

TSAS RB 2023-04

Skip to content