The Canadian Coast Guard, which became a Special Operating Agency in 2005, accomplishes its work with resources at its disposal, but there are undeniable deficiencies, some of which undoubtedly prompted Prime Minister Trudeau to prioritize the needs of the Coast Guard in his mandate letter to the Minister.
A Transportation Safety Summit, led by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), wrapped up two days of discussion last Friday in Gatineau. The Summit brought together a broad cross-section of senior Canadian transportation executives from government, and from the marine, pipeline, rail and aviation industries, including some of their bargaining agents.
Jim Carr, the federal natural resources minister says his government will use police and military forces for ensure opposition to new pipelines remains peaceful. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Line 3 replacement both received approval Tuesday.
Over the next two days, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Brandon, Edmonton and Kingston are departing to participate in Operation Caribbe, Canada’s contribution the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational criminal organizations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean.
Much of the “stuff” Canadians have acquired over the past three decades arrived here from Asia in a shipping container. What is important to both the seller and the purchaser is delivery time, which means the logistics governing the movement of containers around the globe serve one key purpose – time to market.
On the 6th of July of this year, Canadians awoke to images of a tremendously dangerous derailment of a Montreal Maine & Atlantic (MMA) freight train and the explosion of its volatile cargo in the Québec town of Lac Mégantic, on its way to Saint John, New Brunswick from Montreal. By mid-July, Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigators reported that:
Transport Canada issued a “protective direction” on November 20th, requiring the major railway companies to provide detailed information on their cargoes to municipalities and first responders – but the quarterly and annual reports will only cover what had been shipped in the previous three months and 12 months, respectively. At best, it would give municipalities and first responders a feel for what has already gone through their jurisdictions, not what’s coming (somewhat akin to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted).
The warning was unequivocal: Canadians must confront the steadily increasing numbers of technological traps, trip-wires and hazards that await the unprepared, the careless and the unaware.
In October, Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) president Tim Page opened SecureTech 2013, by describing Canada’s security environment. “Serious risks to pubic safety, threats to our eco systems, traditional way of life and national security challenges abound, and are growing in complexity, impact and cost.”
As we embark on 2013, it is timely to reflect on the state of the various components of the security sector in Canada including to note progress made and action required. To do that, it’s helpful to reflect on that which happened in 2012…and that which didn’t because for both reasons it was a year of great significance for safety and security issues in Canada. This factual analysis will also demonstrate what needs action now.
Engineers at Eurocopter set out to prove that it was possible to create a ‘low cost’ helicopter that could attain high speeds. This summer the company brought its new ‘proof of concept’ X3 helicopter to tour the United States. One year previously, the X3 had flown at 232 knots in level flight at 80% of available power – substantially faster than a conventional helicopter’s 150-160 knots. Speaking in Grand Prairie, Texas at the X3’s U.S. debut in June, Dr.
Canada takes a risk-based management approach to ship-source pollution response, and seeks to prevent marine pollution incidents. This prevention and response capability to deal with marine pollution incidents arising from ships is buttressed by the National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP). Administered by the Canadian Coast Guard from its inception in 1991 until 2003 when Transport Canada took on the responsibility, the NASP is an integral element of Canada’s ocean management.
With a long history of defence trade show success with behind it, the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) was challenged with how to do the same for the security industry. CANSEC has rapidly grown over the years to be the largest defence trade show in Canada.
Similar to most threats to our public safety and national security, port security involves fundamental principles for staying safe from either natural disruptions or actions by criminals and terrorists. Response, Recovery and Resilience are well known common principles upon which to structure the security of ports, build programs and develop systems to suit the specific environment.
Are North America’s ports vulnerable to attack that would cripple our economy or annihilate our society? The answer is no to both, but the safety of our economy from port disruption needs closer scrutiny. Threats to airports involve people and the potential use of aircraft as WMDs. Seaports, on the other hand, normally involve very little in the way of transporting people, though cruise boating continues to grow at double-digit rates.
The marine industry is an essential lifeline for so many of our daily needs. Annually, Canada’s commercial marine industry generates $10 billion in economic activity and $117 billion in international trade. It is responsible for 100,000 jobs that manage and move the 456 million tonnes of cargo annually.
“There is a new world emerging above the Arctic Circle. It is this world, a new world for all the peoples of the Arctic regions that we in Canada are working to build”
– Stephen Harper, August 2008, Inuvik, NWT
Innovative South American narco-traffickers have recently expanded their cocaine smuggling repertoire with the use of diesel-electric submarines capable of handling ten-ton loads, replete with conning tower, periscope and air-conditioning. Such stealthy shipping vessels demonstrate clearly that well-funded drug cartels can approach the transportation of their product imaginatively.
ETS dispatcher uses Integrah CAD to respond to security incidents.
While the term “War on Terror” has been causing “political correctness” controversies of late, the situation needs to be defined, if only to have all parties on the same page. If it’s not a war, then what is it? Because these terror tactics will not stop, it is in some respects far worse than a conventional war, as we all know too well. We thought we had the air transport security threat under control – then along comes the “Underpants Bomber,” who, almost completely and single-handedly, wrecked the calm of our holiday season.
With a syringe, Tostaine inflated a bulb at the end of the tube to open the trachea wider. Then he attached a valve mask – a sort of manual ventilator – and pumped it as Ken lay on the hospital stretcher. Ken’s chest visibly moved up and down.
SWAT Paramedic Training.
“That helped,” a voice said.
What? Was Ken able to talk already?
Since before Confederation, the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and other waterways through which the Canada-U.S. border runs have been maritime freeways used by smugglers. Booze, weapons, cigarettes, drugs and other cargoes such as illegal aliens have been transported between Canada and the United States for decades.
A Strategic Imperative
Piracy on the high seas has been making the news headlines; most notably with the audacious hijacking in November of the Saudi-owned super tanker Sirius Star. At present the vessel, together with its multinational crew, languishes off the Somali coastal town of Hardeheere while negotiators attempt to reach an agreement with the present illegal custodians over a ransom payment for its release. The Sirius Star is just one of many vessels hijacked in recent times by pirates operating from Somali coastal towns and ports.
In their November 2007 report entitled, A Resilient Canada: Governance for National Security and Public Safety, by Trevor Munn-Venn and Andrew Archibald, the Conference Board of Canada has produced an insightful analysis of how Canadians formulate and implement governance in their national security and public safety organizations. Interestingly, after interviewing public and private sector leaders and experts in this subject area, the Board found that the greatest threat to national security perceived by these experts is “a lack of clarity around governance.”
It was billed as a Transportation Security and Technology Forum with the goal of applying Canadian and global solutions. And it didn’t disappoint. Kicked off by a refreshingly candid analysis of maritime security vulnerabilities by Defense Minister Peter MacKay, the Conference Board of Canada’s November 2007 Transportation Security Conference featured an impressive array of speakers with detailed presentations and a series of specific recommendations for improvements.
After meeting Mark Camillo at a recent Conference Board of Canada event covering the Transportation Security Challenges of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, FrontLine Security’s Executive Editor, Clive Addy, contacted him again in Washington for a more in-depth discussion of his insights on this topic. His extensive experience in these matters provides an objective view of the security challenges facing Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver... and beyond.
One comment currently being heard in British Columbia is that the upcoming 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics will be “a sporting event, not a security event.”
As this issue of FrontLine Security illustrates, the marine component of domestic security measures has never been as important for Canada as it is today. The reasons for this is, of course, are fairly obvious.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) processes about 97 million people and a constant flow of goods worth billions of dollars each year — the value of cross-border trade with the United States alone averages $1.9 billion a day. It is a massive responsibility. The task is made all the more challenging by the current post-9/11 environment, fraught as it is with the threat of terrorism and other criminal activities.
Chief among their conclusions ought to be that this threat has global reach and is alive and well – and that there is no silver bullet counter measure that will prevent the next attack. Both assessments have profound meaning for how our state and local public safety agencies are organizing and preparing their people for this new age of security.
Protecting our passengers and employees with effective and efficient security measures is the highest priority for the aviation industry. However, since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the airline industry has endured a continuous stream of stopgap security measures – many of these were rushed into effect with little or no industry input. What we are finding, is that a security system designed through hastened reaction to a crisis may not be the best long-term solution for the industry.
When Securing an Open Society: Canada’s National Security Policy was promulgated in April 2004, the authors billed it as a “strategic framework and action plan.” It is not a national security strategy. In fact, it would seem that the Canadian government did not feel an urgent need for a national security strategy. Rather, they often seemed to leave this sort of thinking to the U.S. government in the context of North American security strategy.
Traditionally, a nation under attack defends itself at defined perimeters of land, sea and sky. Now, the growth of digital technology has pushed homeland defence beyond these boundaries into the virtual plane where the Internet is a continuously morphing front.