It’s been a thoughtful couple of days in Canada, given the death of a young soldier who was a ceremonial guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. For those who aren’t familiar, the Tomb is just steps away from the Parliament building.
Canada has had its share of politically inspired violence. Almost all these incidents didn’t come from an organized group. It also looks like our “secret police” (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or CSIS) has been doing a reasonable job tracking the few terrorist groups resident in our country.
Prime Minister Harper has made the usual reassurances about being vigilant.
Does this mean more cumbersome security at our airports? I hope not. Technology usually isn’t very good at identifying that one in a million passenger who is going to be a threat. I agree with others that behavioral screening (despite its implication of racial profiling) and the use of biometric identification for frequent travellers would significantly lower cost and raise security.
Spending money on education for schools on First Nations reserves is a far greater priority than a new screening machine.
And what if there is a well organized group of terrorists that begins to act in Canada? Well, us nice polite Canadians, usually perceived as ineffectual, quickly turn on the not nice.
During the terrorism by the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) in October, 1970, our Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, expressed how strongly we would respond.
If you can sit through it, watch the relentless logic with which Trudeau deals with the reporters questions. The “sound bit” is at the 5:50 second mark.