A new program will see the federal government cooperating with major cities to combat suspected terrorist plots, announced Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on Monday.

Goodale was in Montreal to make the announcement and praised the city’s anti-radicalization centre.

“The Montreal centre is one of the success stories,” he said. “We want to learn everything we can.”

Goodale singled out radicalization as a major threat to Canada and said the country needs to improve how it deals with those who are vulnerable to it.

“We will be trying to make sure that we in Canada are among the best in the world at understanding radicalization, who is vulnerable to it, what causes it, what are the insidious messages that draw people into this very perverse and damaging behavior,” he said. “What are the right techniques to counteract all of that negativity?”

The announcement came a week after a the RCMP, acting on a tip by the American FBI, thwarted an attack in Strathroy, Ont. Aaron Driver was killed in a confrontation with police. Driver had a been held on a peace bond due to fears he would engage in terrorist activities.

On Sunday, Goodale released a statement saying Canadian authorities are constantly working with international allies to identify possible terrorist threats.

"Consistent with the robust security alliance that we have with the U.S., the Americans passed that material to the RCMP," said Goodale's statement, which prominently mentioned the context of the FBI contribution.

Last year, two formers students at College Maisonneuve were arrested at Trudeau Airport for allegedly trying to join jihadist groups in Syria. Five other students from the CEGEP have allegedly successfully  travelled to the Middle East for the same reason.

However, critics say that anti-radicalization centres can only do so much.

“When the person is radicalized, in a sense it’s too late, because he’s already converted,” said Andre Gagne, a theological studies professor at Concordia University.

Gagne recommended a proactive stance on the issue, including educating young people on how to think critically about religion.

“In high school, in the educational system, you would have programs and courses that would help kids develop this critical perspective on religion and all religions,” he said. 

- With files from The Canadian Press