Terrorist Threats In Canada: Experts Say Government Needs To Take Further Action In Fight Against Terror

In 2015, the closure of Alaska Airlines Canada rendered an estimated 900 passengers in the affected Canadian province of British Columbia stranded overseas, with some of the stranded travellers enduring a 14-hour flight delay….

Terrorist Threats In Canada: Experts Say Government Needs To Take Further Action In Fight Against Terror

In 2015, the closure of Alaska Airlines Canada rendered an estimated 900 passengers in the affected Canadian province of British Columbia stranded overseas, with some of the stranded travellers enduring a 14-hour flight delay.

Alaska, while trying to smooth the troubled ride of these stranded travelers, took sharp criticism from the Manitoba, a party of Canada, whose government minister caused the closure to Alaska Airlines in the first place. The government of Manitoba failed to ensure people’s safety, and ultimately said it was satisfied with the response from Alaska Airlines. The fact that some airlines threatened legal action because of the inconvenience shows just how much the Canadian government has fallen behind the curve on its aviation safety standards.

The government of Canada has recently improved its aviation safety standards. The Canadian Ministry of Transport released regulations that would require all new and reconstructed aircraft flown in Canada to have an operational altitude of 5,000 feet, requiring a landing system for the cold, rain and fog. The new regulations, which go into effect in September 2019, have been welcomed by industry players. The rules have been implemented in part because of the swine flu pandemic that affected the country in 2009. According to the Foreign Affairs department’s Travel Advice Canada, the swine flu crisis affected British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and New Brunswick. Although there were no major airline accidents or deaths in Canada because of the pandemic, it did involve an increase in people flying due to travel cancellations, which represented a safety risk.

Canada has become a major player in the global travel industry, having surpassed Australia to become the third largest source of arrivals to the U.S. and the ninth largest destination for passengers traveling to the U.S. Canada is also the sixth largest supplier of travellers from the U.S. Visit Canada has urged Canadian visitors to avoid unhygienic travel sites due to a number of safety risks including conditions at aquatic parks, unfinished construction work at hotels, and unfinished infrastructure work at hotels.

The surge in tourism to Canada has also drawn criticism in recent years from some environmental groups. The National Post reported that around 20 groups spoke out against the recent National Energy Board decision to approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, called the “single most important project in the United States-Canada relationship since the [North American Free Trade Agreement].” They want the pipeline terminated.

A recent Canadian investigation into more than 250 companies and more than a dozen types of travel agents, has also highlighted the contribution made by Canadian tourism to the economy. According to the study, the country makes up 14 percent of the world’s tourism market but generates only 11 percent of travel-related employment. While Canada does not have the reputation that other tourist destinations, such as America, Europe, and Australia, have, it is also evolving into a more welcoming destination for American visitors.

In addition to the potential threat from pandemic of the swine flu pandemic in Canada, the country could be threatened by a ballistic missile threat, according to Ian Munday, who heads the national security, strategic issues and economic competition office at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. He believes that the government, at the federal level, is doing not enough to alert citizens of the potential threat from ballistic missiles. A report from the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada revealed in 2017 that, over the past 20 years, Canada has not taken full advantage of an invitation by President George W. Bush to improve its air-defence capability, which could have aided it in the event of a missile threat. Canadian officials do not view the threat of ballistic missiles as very serious. In response to a call for ballistic missile defense technology from the OECD in 2016, Canada showed some hesitation about being a missile shield nation.

Canada’s homegrown terrorist threat also needs to be better addressed, according to Colin Robertson, former Canadian ambassador to the United States and senior vice president and deputy chairman of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. Canada has only a tiny surveillance operation and is afraid to place too much emphasis on doing something about it, according to Mr. Robertson. But, with American scrutiny of homegrown terrorism rising, Canadian authorities may soon be forced to take action.

Megan Steinberger is a lawyer based in New York, whose work focuses on national security, cybersecurity, human rights, and regulations.

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