Critical about Protecting Infrastructure
Jul 15, 2008

Our Spring issue on Terrorism and Critical Infrastructure Protection ­generated much interest and comment. As we embark on the key trial of Momin Khawaja, the first Canadian-born to be charged under the new ­terrorist legislation, the issues brought up in our last edition by Howie Marsh and Tom Quiggin will surely resonate in the minds of our readers.

On the issue of Critical Infrastructure Protection, we have received very interesting perspectives from other sources that deserve full airing in our magazine. First, Sharzad Rahbar, Vice President Strategy and Operations of the Canadian Gas Association, offers some serious policy recommendations from her sector’s point of view and Tyson Macaulay, from Bell Canada, offers new and innovative considerations to evaluate and manage the security interdependencies of various sectors of critical infrastructure. We have an article on protecting public transit by Peter Holt, based on recent work by Desseau Engineering on the Montreal Subway and Peter Johnston and Wayne Pickering of Lansdowne Technologies offer us a risk assessment model for Critical Infra­struc­ture that bears consideration. Jim Facette gives us the airport operators’ perspective on security efforts in this field of CIP as well.  One must, however, read the reflections on this matter by Scott Newark wherein he screams for more concrete action and less discussion at the federal level, a cry oft-repeated in these and previous FrontLine articles on CIP.

We at FrontLine Security note, with less than great enthusiasm, the May 2008 release of the Public Safety document “Working Towards a National Strategy and Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure” the follow-on to the November 2004 “Position Paper on a National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure Protection” wherein the very titles and the timeframe explain the growing frustration by Sector operators in industry.

In the realm of natural disaster ­management, Ernest MacGillivray, Director of the New Brunswick Depart­ment of Public Safety’s Emergency Measures Organization, provides an excellent summary of key lessons from their recent flood of the St John River in May. At its peak, Andrew Easton of Public Safety reported the lower part of the river spread to form a “lake 45km long, at points 12km wide, where normally there is a river 1 to 1.5 km wide. One day, boat operators reported 1.5m surf with whitecaps.” He also recalled a story of initiative and courage: a scow saving people and cattle at risk of drowning. “One of the two boats pushing the scow had an engine failure, in the dark. The scow had a crew of 10-15 Canadian Forces members and civilians, plus the crew of the two boats, another eight, I think. The scow was picking up speed and heading towards a bridge pylon, and the sole boat could not hold it. A brave young engineer saved some lives (human and bovine) and placed his safety boat, a RHIB, between the scow and the bridge. The RHIB took the impact, with considerable damage and risk to the occupants The scow bounced off and free, and the second tow boat got restarted and that mission finished without further incident.” BravoZulu, as the Navy says!

Perusing the internet one day, my attention was drawn to Canada’s production and export of Ecstasy pills. This ­situation is reinforced by the June arrest, in California, of a Canadian charged with attempting to trade 100,000 Ecstasy pills for cocaine (to be exported back to Canada). Shortly afterwards, U.S. officials confiscated ecstasy, cocaine, and the drug “ice” – a street value of more than $31 million – concealed in massage chairs bound for Australia. I asked Superintendent Mike Aubin for an update on this matter since it had earlier drawn specific criticism from high government levels of our U.S. neighbour. I believe the drug trade is an area that we, as a culture, must urgently address in innovative ways, and I thank the RCMP for their candid contribution to this issue and applaud their “Awareness, Treatment and Enforcement” strategy that embraces ­government, schools, private agencies, plus individuals everywhere  working  to reduce this growing social cancer.

An interesting article has arrived from Steven De Lisi, former senior Firefighter in Virginia, with some very practical advice on how to organize a good Hazmat exercise at the municipal level.

I am pleased to publish Peter Avis’ thought-provoking article on better governance for security. This perspective not only mirrors his reflections on maritime security, as expressed last Fall, but also offers a concrete proposal to address many of the criticisms of the federal approach voiced in the CIP articles listed above.

Finally, I welcome the reflections of Alan Burke on the security risks posed by Climate Change and the urgency in adapting to these changes to mitigate the dangers. In this day of  political “we-they” championing of the environment, there is a real and immediate need to stop the infantile bickering and propose workable policies to Adapt to the inevitable changes, and the sooner, the better. I trust that this article opens the door to other reflections on the security implications of Climate Change.

Again, keep your comments coming and have a good and stimulating read. May your veins boil!

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2008