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Learning From Canada’s Mistakes

Terror Along the Border

Since his appointment as Canadian ambassador to the United States, Frank McKenna has spent many hours trying to assure Americans that none of the September 11 hijackers came from Canada.  This is, of course, true, but it would be wrong to assume that Canada’s “War on Terror” has been error-free.  In fact, some of the mistakes that have been made are such that they present a serious threat not only to Canada but to the United States.

In early April 2005, when appearing before Canada’s Senate Committee on National Security and Defense, the minister of public safety and emergency preparedness—the equivalent of the U.S. secretary of homeland security—stressed that, since September 11, the government had set aside nine billion dollars in new funding to secure the safety of Canadians.

In meetings with senior U.S. Cabinet members, Canadian ministers pointed to the passage of an omnibus security bill (similar to the USA PATRIOT Act).  They referred to the allotment of additional funding for security purposes.  They pointed to a number of task forces and framework agreements that have been established and to organizational restructuring of the bureaucracy.  Unfortunately, in terms of practical steps to improve security, little has been done.

It is, of course, in Canada’s interest to keep assuring our American neighbors that we take the War on Terror seriously. ...

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