The Canadian Association of Security and Intelligence Studies (CASIS) recently held a Symposium entitled “The Cyber Challenge.” Although the speakers focused on the national and international, and non-criminal aspects of the threat, the implications for those on the front lines of public safety are unmistakable.
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.
The world’s total forest area is just over 4 billion hectares, which corresponds to an average of 0.6 ha per capita (31% of the Earth’s total land mass), according to a 2010 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
There is a war going on in South Africa. It doesn’t, for the most part, involve armies or large battles, but it is a tough, dirty and vicious war nonetheless. Special forces, intelligence gathering, air operations, dog teams, covert surveillance, crime scene management, and many other experts are involved in this war, and at the forefront are the rangers of the national and private parks and the hunting and game reserves.
A wildfire in the hills of the Deodoro Region in Rio de Janeiro has raised some concerns for the Olympics. As the winds have been gaining strength, a close eye needs to be kept on this fire.
The men's and women's BMX events are to take place in these hills over the next few days. Nothing has been reported yet as to whether or not the events will be postponed or canceled due to the fire.
After protesters shut down five oil pipelines carrying Canadian crude oil, police and energy companies say preventing a disruption is 'near impossible'. After the attacks, police, pipeline companies and government officials on both sides of the Canada-US border addressed the threat.
The Kitsilano Coast Guard Base on the BC coast was shut down by the former Harper government more than three years ago. Operational response started up quietly in May, but today was the official re-opening, complete with a First Nations ceremony. The Liberal government pledges to improve the search and rescue capacity and expand the role to include an incident command post for environmental response on the water.
(July 2009) Canada's Northern Strategy focuses on four priority areas: exercising our Arctic sovereignty; promoting social and economic development; protecting the North's environmental heritage; and improving and devolving northern governance, so that Northerners have a greater say in their own destiny.
Health Canada has released numerous reports on topics related to Climate Change and Health, including a Heat Alert Guidebook. For a compendium, check this web site.
(Ongoing Updates) Environment Canada has prepared numerous reports on the Arctic Ecosystem in relation to Climate Change and Conservation Strategies.
(updates daily) This site lists the latest global earthquakes with magnitudes of 2.5 or greater in the United States and Adjacent Areas, and a magnitude of 4.5 or greater in the rest of the world.
Great progress has been made since 2007 when Frontline Security first reported on radar surveillance technology designed for use in the homeland by public safety organizations, whose responsibilities include border security, search and rescue, transportation security, and law enforcement.
Typical radar node.
OPERATION DRIFTNET – Charged with monitoring and protecting the state of the vulnerable resources that lay below, Frank Snelgrove (below) hovers above the North Pacific Ocean in a CP-140 Aurora aircraft, monitoring the endless expanse of water for hours on end.
Frank Snelgrove stands near a CP-140 Aurora preparing for duty.
Our understanding of climate change impacts and adaptation in Canada has increased, both as a result of new research and through practical experience. Led by Natural Resources Canada, the development of this report involved over 90 authors and 115 expert reviewers, and synthesized over 1500 recent publications.
Q1: Following the severe flooding in Southern Alberta in June, you have been appointed by the Alberta Government as the Chief Assistant Deputy Minister for the Alberta Flood Recovery Task Force. What preparations had been in place for mitigating such an event, and what improvements are you now working on?
As we head into 2014, FrontLine Security offers some very pertinent reflections on the complex challenges of policing and disaster management. I trust that our articles will stimulate the additional discussion and debate.
First, Dr. Michael Kempa, a most respected researcher in his field, gives us a broad but comprehensive perspective on challenges in modern Canadian Policing in this more complex, and interconnected global environment, and the correspondingly changing face of Canadian community policing.
Dr Michael Kempa is an Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa, and a freelance journalist who enjoys diving into the messy reality of the politics and economics of policing and security. Editor Clive Addy talks to him about the current situation of rising costs without the benefit of rising budgets.
Newspapers were full with stories of how the RCMP, supported by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), had just prevented a “terrorist attack” at the BC Legislature on July 1st (Canada Day) 2013. These unfolding events provided a revealing background to my inquiries about Canada’s maritime security infrastructure, and were relevant to my inquiries on how culturally different federal departments work together efficiently.
He was an award-winning horticulturalist successfully growing the rarest of orchids. He was an expert fly fisher and a documenter of river systems. He was a poet and publisher, as well as a long time correspondent of T.S. Eliot. He was schooled in the art of New Criticism while attending Yale, and later studied law at Harvard. But more than anything, he was the unrelenting hunter of “moles” within the CIA and, by extension, many governments and agencies of the Western world during the height of the Cold War.
(2011) Health care facilities need to develop an Emergency Water Supply Plan (EWSP) to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a total or partial interruption of the facilities' normal water supply because water supplies can, and do, fail. The objective of this Planning Guide is to help health care facilities develop a robust EWSP as part of its overall facility EOP and to meet the published standards set forth by the Joint Commission and the CMS. The guide is intended for use by any health care facility, regardless of size or patient capacity.
A recent workshop on Canadian Public Safety Interoperability held true to its theme “From Results to Success” with numerous speakers explaining to the over 300 delegates how their interoperability efforts are now bearing fruit. However, one major issue that remains to be resolved is that of 700 MHz Broadband for Mission Critical Data. The entire country awaits Industry Canada’s decision on what to do with this “beachfront property.”
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.
Canada has all the elements of a national public alerting system, but many important, time-sensitive public safety messages from government agencies aren’t getting through to the public.
The possibilities for alerting the public are almost endless – and the technology exists to enable them – but there are barriers to progress in this area.
Large scale disruptive events seem to be occurring more frequently and with greater impact on people, property, commerce, and the environment. These events can present overwhelming global challenges to organizations of all sizes.
First, it assumes that the person holding a secret voluntarily wants to reveal it. While this happens very often, it ignores cases where secrets are revealed involuntarily. The latter can be of particular concern to the business community, where personnel are not always trained in the best practices of confidentiality. Second, that explanation has limited value as a vulnerability assessment tool. “MICE” offers some specific and useful indicators to watch for, but by focusing on a few of them, it misses other factors and most importantly the bigger picture.
We know that attacks on critical infrastructures from criminal threats, corporate or industrial espionage and/or politically motivated sabotage, could threaten public safety, impact national security, or even create economic upheaval or environmental disaster. What we may not know is that a large percentage of critical infrastructures is actually privately owned and that private security forces are becoming the primary protectors of vital infrastructure.
Seldom do Canadians, as a nation, look much beyond next week, next month or next year. We tend to be laid-back and blasé about our future. We engage in a game of self-deception by assuming that the threat of any major harm is restricted solely to a major environmental event, such as blizzards, hurricanes or flooding, created by climate change.
The global population is approaching 7 billion people and, combined with the ease and frequency of modern air travel, this gives rise to a rapidly increased public health risk at major world events. Mass gatherings, as they have come to be called, are largely pre-planned events, held for a limited time and attended by more than 25,000 people. These events can include any number of purposes – political, religious, athletic – and can be attended by, for instance, 300,000 rabid soccer fans at a FIFA World Cup, or 2.5 million pilgrims at the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
To ensure common objectives such as public safety and security stay at the forefront of an ever-changing global environment, all moving parts of a nation’s security force need to be working in sync and constantly communicating. This, however, is much easier said than done.
Darwinian principles today constitute the driving intellectual force behind the technology of a number of biotech companies, guiding a wide range of clinical applications that have already been developed or are on the drawing boards. On the forefront of this technology is Evolva, a Swiss company that seeks to use the principles of natural selection to propel their drug discovery program.
Internationally, Canadians considered progressive, compassionate, smart, careful, etc. – all positive accolades for sure. But we’re also thought to be a bit naive which isn’t so good when it comes to getting prepared for natural disasters and catastrophic events. Global events over the years have taught us that large scale industrial accidents and super storms can hit without much if any warning.
The 21st century has kicked off with a bang and opened the gates to an interconnected world where domestic and international borders are increasingly blurred. The last decade has witnessed the rise of transnational security threats posed by violent non-state actors, pandemics, climate change, ballooning economies, strains placed upon strategic, non-renewable energy resources, and significant technological advancements.
A severe tornado ripped through the city centre of Atlanta, Georgia in March 2008.
(April 2009) A Chatham House Briefing Paper by Cleo Paskal on environment-related disruptions to hydroelectric installations, offshore oil and gas production, pipelines, electrical transmission and nuclear power generation.
(May 2009) Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans calls for a stronger Coast Guard to assert Canada?s presence in the North.
(Nov 2009) To predict the path and landfall of a hurricane or other coastal storm and assess the damage, emergency managers and scientists need continuous information on the storm?s path, strength, predicted landfall, and expected damage over large areas. Satellite and airborne remote sensors can provide the required information in a timely and reliable way. The lessons learned from hurricane Katrina are helping optimize future approaches for tracking hurricanes and predicting their impact on coastal ecosystems and developed areas.
Climate change, resource depletion, health, security, economics, and politics are inextricably intertwined.
Air pollution in the Valley of Mexico. (Photo: C. Mcnaughton. U. of Hawaii)
One of the most knowledgeable and comprehensive examinations of the state of our Maritime Security has been one conducted by the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. For the last six years, during its study, it has heard testimony, examined data, held regional hearings and visited our ports. The Committee has twice published its recommendations in ominously titled reports: Canada’s Coastlines The longest undefended borders in the World (2003), and a rather damning update of this initial report, entitled simply Coasts (2007).
National Security – The Sea Matters
Over the last six years, in the changed global security environment, Canadians have learned that National Security is a modern imperative that requires profound thought, development, investment, resourcing, and, most of all, government leadership and action. The new threat environment includes globalized threats such as terrorism, multi-national crime organizations, disease epidemics, and natural disasters – not simply traditional, state-oriented threats.
Although it is difficult to actually pinpoint when emergency management emerged as a recognizable and distinct profession, it can safely be said that the idea or concept of practitioners schooled in risk management started to evolve in the 1990’s. By the early 2000’s, emergency management was both the buzzword and the business!
We are fortunate to have a piece by the new Commissioner of Public Safety in Ontario, Commissioner Jay Hope on his role and that of Emergency Management Ontario and the ordinary citizen.
THE ALBERTA EXPERIENCE FOLLOWING THE AUGUST 2005 DERAILMENT AT LAKE WABAMUN
Regions and municipalities deal with crises on a somewhat regular basis and therfore tend to maintain their readiness levels, however, major disasters that call for special resources do not happen very often. The tendency then, especially as events fade into the past, is to let our preparedness guards down. This is perhaps more true at the federal and provincial/state levels that are further removed from first response demands.
Weather-related hazardous events have always affected responders but the frequency of these natural disasters has been increasing – from 2-4 per year in earlier decades to about 12 per year in the last decade (with considerable year-to-year variability).
May 2007 - Lake City, Florida. The Florida Bugaboo Fire rages out of control as firefighters wait for a helicopter to bring a load of water. (Photo: Mark Wolfe/FEMA)
With the longest coastline in the world (243,772 km), and a marine area of responsibility of over 11 million square kilometers, Canada faces a formidable surveillance challenge! Along these shores are 250 ports and, on a typical day, 1700 ships are in our area of responsibility. It is important to know exactly what is happening in the ocean approaches to our borders. The goal in marine security, therefore, is to obtain “domain awareness” so that we can deal with potential threats before they get too close.
Advances in the ability of scientists to predict severe weather disturbances and natural disasters will not protect the public if warnings don’t get out. That message was recently delivered by Dr. Ian Rutherford, executive director of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS), to Canada’s broadcast regulator. He recounted how newly acquired Doppler radars have doubled the technologically possible warning time for tornadoes since one touched down in Edmonton in 1987 when he was in charge of the Alberta city’s weather service.