Mackenzie Institute

The Mackenzie Institute for the Study of Terrorism, Revolution and Propaganda is a think tank in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was founded in 1986 by Brigadier Dr. Maurice Tugwell, a former Parachute Regiment officer and British Army veteran of WWII, Mandatory Palestine (1947), the Malaysian insurgency, Cyprus and Ulster.[citation needed] The Institute is a non-profit organization that depends upon individual donors and charitable foundations; it does not accept government funding. The Institute publishes online research papers on a wide variety of political matters, with a focus on terrorism, political extremism, warfare, and organized crime.[1] Its mission is to provide research and commentary on its subject matter, to promote informed public debate, and to hold to the proposition that liberal democratic tradition must be safeguarded and fostered. It is also concerned with the social and political stability of Canada, and works to enhance it when it can. The Institute is named after explorer Sir Alexander Mackenzie.[2] Its former presidents, John C. Thompson and Alan Bell, often appear as television contributors on terrorism and security issues.

The Mackenzie Institute
The Mackenzie Institute.png
FocusTerrorism, political research, military affairs, security issues, organized crime
ChairmanNorman Gardner

In July 1995, members of the Animal Liberation Front allegedly sent a pipe bomb to Thompson's office in Toronto. His assistant could have been killed, except that the device's battery had become disconnected through mishandling by Canada Post.[3][4]

Several newspaper reports have described the Institute as a conservative or right-wing organization.[5] In 1994, journalist Michael Valpy criticized the Institute for producing what he described as an ideologically-driven report of supposed "leftist conspiracies".[6] Thompson has repeatedly rejected such descriptions, describing himself as a "classical liberal".[7] He has written, "If being a traditional liberal these days means being condemned as a right-wing nut, I plead guilty".[8]

In 2005, the Institute released a report entitled "Waiting for the Kaboom: Indicators to Watch for", described as a citizen's guide to finding terrorists. In this report, John C. Thompson encouraged Canadians to watch for theft of credentials and credit cards, attempts to buy weapons in bulk, increased visits to access tunnels under office towers, and large groups of men living together "for no apparent purpose". He also warned Canadians about people wearing bulky clothing in hot weather, arguing that suicide bombers sometimes wear several sets of underwear to protect their groins for the virgins they believe martyrs receive in the afterlife. These guidelines were welcomed by some law enforcement groups, but were also met with some criticism.[9] Canada's Public Safety ministry declined to comment on the release.[10] The Mackenzie Institute later issued a revised version of the report, under the new title "Precursors of Hostile Intent: Signs of a Potential Terrorist Attack".[11]

The Mackenzie Institute used to make frequent comments on Canada's military mission in Afghanistan, and supports increased funding for the Canadian military generally.[12]

Board of GovernorsEdit

As of April 2017, the Mackenzie Institute's Board of Governors includes Julian Fantino, Norm Gardner (Chair), and David McFadden, among others.[13]


  1. ^ " Profile: Mackenzie Institute". November 25, 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
  2. ^ "The Mackenzie Institute". Mackenzie Institute. Retrieved 2007-05-14.
  3. ^ RCMP PROBES ANIMAL ACTIVISTS Archived 2006-06-16 at the Wayback Machine, Scott Anderson, Now Magazine, June 12–18, 1997
  4. ^ Letter bomb mystery deepens Archived 2012-07-01 at, Jen Gerson, Simona Siad & Surya Bhattacharya, The Toronto Star, Sep 01, 2007
  5. ^ Michael Doxtater, "How the Mohawks look at history", Globe and Mail, 11 July 1991, A17; "Mail bombs spark public warning", Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 20 July 1995, A3; Geoff Baker, "Who's behind mail-bomb plot?", Toronto Star, 30 July 1995, A2; "Tamils protest paper's story", Toronto Star, 13 February 2000, p. 1; Rob Faulkner, "Institute offers anti-terrorism tip sheet", Hamilton Spectator, 10 August 2005, A6.
  6. ^ Valpy, Michael (July 20, 1994). "It's A Plot, I Tell You, A Plot!". The Globe and Mail.
  7. ^ John Thompson, "Defending the institute", Globe and Mail, 23 July 1991, A14.
  8. ^ John Thompson, "The liberal view", Globe and Mail, 29 July 1994, A16. See also " Murray Campbell, "Wonks", Globe and Mail, 2 December 1995, D1.
  9. ^ Rob Faulkner, "Institute offers anti-terrorism tip sheet", Hamilton Spectator, 10 August 2005, A6.
  10. ^ Stewart Bell, "Think-tank urges public to watch out for terrorists: 'Our turn is coming soon'", National Post, 9 August 2005, A4.
  11. ^ John C. Thompson, "Precursors of Hostile Intent: Signs of a Potential Terrorist Attack" Archived 2007-06-07 at the Wayback Machine, Mackenzie Institute, current as of 20 March 2006, accessed 15 May 2007.
  12. ^ For instance, Lynda Hurst, "Deep well of Taliban fighters", Toronto Star, 13 September 2006, A1 [Afghanistan]; Chris Wattie, "Canada's hollow army is 'short of everybody'", National Post, 4 May 2006, A6 [funding].
  13. ^

External linksEdit