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Prime Minister Stephen Harper pauses while speaking about the situation in Iraq before a business roundtable meeting at IMW Industries in Chilliwack, B.C., on Wednesday August 20, 2014.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the murder of American journalist James Foley by Islamic State militants in Iraq is part of a "degrading and disgusting terror" campaign being carried out across the entire region.

Harper made the comments during a brief stop in British Columbia on his annual trip to the North.

Harper says the conflict in Iraq and Syria threatens more and more countries and represents a long-term threat to the security of Canada itself.

He says his government has been in contact with international allies and he expects to announce additional steps to address that threat in the coming days.

Islamic state militants beheaded Foley and posted a grisly video online, saying his death was in retaliation for American military action in Iraq.

American President Barack Obama denounced the group as a "cancer" threatening the entire region, affirming that U.S. will not scale back its military presence.