Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

Leah West Sherriff | Kingston International Lecture | February 2018

Tuesday, 13 February 2018,  7:00 pm

Memorial Hall, Kingston City Hall
216 Ontario Street, Kingston, Ontario


Killing Citizens: Legal Dilemmas in the Targeted Killing of Canadian Foreign Terrorist Fighters

Canada is an armed conflict with an insurgency that has actively recruited Canadians and directed them to use or promote violence against Canada and its allies. Consequently, the Canadian government could conceivably ask its soldiers to target and kill fellow Canadians, or to assist allies in doing so. This situation raises a host of novel legal issues, including the question of “targeted killing” confronted by the United Kingdom in 2015 when it directed military force against several Britons believed to plotting a terrorist attack while overseas. This talk will address those legal issues, leaving the audience to wrestle with an even more complex question: even if it’s legal to target our own citizens, should we?

About Leah West Sherriff

Leah West Sherriff is Counsel with the National Security Advisory and Litigation Group of the Department of Justice. Her work predominantly involves litigation around the protection of national security information. She is also a member of the team responsible for drafting and implementing Bill C-59 “An Act respecting national security matters”. Before joining DOJ, Leah was involved in advocacy work related to human trafficking, security certificates, lawful access and the reform of Bill C-51. She also worked for a  private intelligence firm in Virginia consulting on business development in the area of spectator sports security. Leah is proud to have served as an Armoured Officer in the Canadian Army for ten years with whom she deployed to Afghanistan as the junior operations officer in 2010. While overseas Leah was involved in the targeting process on a daily basis, and also worked closely with Special Forces from various allied countries during the planning of operations in Kandahar.  Leah is a graduate of the Royal Military College, U of T Law, and  holds an MA in Intelligence Studies. She is currently the Antiterrorism Law Fellow at the University of Ottawa where she is completing her LLM with a concentration in International Humanitarian and Security Law.

Kingston International Lecture Series

Established in 2010, the Kingston International Lecture is a public lecture jointly sponsored by CIDP and the Royal Military College of Canada on an international topic of general interest. 

  • 2017 - Murray Brewster, CBC News Correspondent and senior Parliamentary defence and foreign policy writer
    Canada, the U.S. and Foreign Policy in a 140 Character World (March 2017)
  • 2015 - Séverine Autesserre, Barnard College, Columbia University
    Peaceland: conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention (April 2015)
  • 2014 - T.V. Paul, McGill University
    The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World (January 2014)
  • 2012 - Mark N. KatzGeorge Mason University
    Leaving Without Losing: the War on Terror after Iraq and Afghanistan (September 2012)
  • 2011 - Jonathon Pacquin, Université Laval
    Does Ottawa follow Washington? Evidence from the "Arab Spring".  Est-ce qu'Ottawa s'aligne sur Washington?
    Le cas du 'printemps arabe" ( March 2011)