This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Air Travel Out of Montreal: How Safe?

"There are serious issues that have been raised, which is why I questioned the federal Transport Ministry. But there are police on the scene and I have assured myself that they are well aware and are following the situation closely."
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux, Quebec City

"As for various risks, including radicalization, ADM works with the different law enforcement agencies responsible for risk investigation, prevention and analysis."
"At present, ADM has not been informed of any specific threat."
"Montreal—Trudeau airport is unquestionably among the most secure locations there is."
Aeroports de Montreal 

"Transport Canada works closely with partners such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, Canada Border Services Agency, airport authorities and local law-enforcement agencies to maintain the highest security standards at Canadian airports."
"Canadians can be assured that their government takes security matters very seriously and will not hesitate to take appropriate action to mitigate risks and respond to any threats, when identified, to the transportation system."
Transport Minister Marc Garneau
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said all the country's airports, including Trudeau, are secure and protected by 'multi-layered' security.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said all the country's airports, including Trudeau, are secure and protected by 'multi-layered' security. (Charles Contant/CBC)
"We do conduct, on a continuous basis, threat analysis, risk analysis, vulnerability analysis, just to make sure we can face any kind of threat."
Pierre-Paul Pharand, vice-president, airport operations
There -- the confident voice of authority gives assurances that all is well, nothing amiss -- move on folks. Have niggling doubts, do you? And why might that be? So four employees at Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, a very busy air hub to be sure, were discovered to have been 'radicalized', with evidence found to validate suspicions that they represented a threat to security and presumably life and limb of passengers boarding planes that these Islamist schemers may have planned to destroy mid-air through some planted explosive device.

Don't worry, be happy, everything is under control. The statement above, by Mr. Pharand, in charge of airport operations should be sufficiently reassuring. What's that? The four employees, according to Mr. Pharand, don't happen to work for his corporation, Aeroports de Montreal? How strange!  And Mr. Pharand has no idea who they are or who they work for, but the airport is unable to terminate their employment, since they don't work for his corporation. There's a confidence-builder....!

Four airport employees have been under suspicion, and as a result of that suspicion growing to a level that cannot be ignored, their access levels were 'scaled back'. Not suspended, or removed, and the employees placed under arrest of anything drastic like that, mind. But authorities are busy, checking into the possibility that four were radicalized. Which is an aversive shorthand alluding to Muslims engaging in terrorism.

The Journal de Montreal published a report and the TVA network reported that two of the four employees still work at the airport despite that all have been definitely implicated in radicalization. Evidence has been established that they've searched out pro-ISIL websites as well as other propaganda on social media. That kind of innocent pastime has been supplemented by searches online for strategies on producing homemade explosives; an "abnormal number" of times.

Still, Aeroports de Montreal asserts with confidence that there is no reason for concern since the airport is "among the most secure locations there is." With its own safety and security patrol, it collaborates with the RCMP, with CSIS and the Surete du Quebec. There you go, a big sigh of relief is in order. Just overlook that part of the report that points out one of the employees with access to restricted areas including runways and airplanes had commented approvingly on the November 2015 Paris attacks.

On TVA, a segment was played by an undercover camera showing an airport employee with an access card appearing to board a parked airplane minus the imperative of being searched beforehand. Any employee, according to Aeroports de Montreal, who works in such restricted areas must carry a pass, would be frequently investigated and monitored, subjected to random searches as well as being identified by digital fingerprint technology before entering. In theory, evidently.

Airport security
The Airport Patrol, Montreal police, RCMP, Canadian Border Services Agency, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Sûreté du Québec all have jurisdiction at the airport. (Radio-Canada)

Here are two interesting perspectives to juxtapose against each other: Montreal Mayor Denis Codere soothingly remarks: "It's a matter of ongoing vigilance, but I think there's no [need] to panic". Well, thank heavens for that. Tayler Stoute, on the other hand, a worker in international departures at a duty-free shop, is rather conflicted feeling about the critical matter of security. "It is a bit concerning, because there are many people who just walk through security every day without being searched and that is definitely a concern."

Definitely, Mr. Stoute, most definitely. Take your pick: the soothing assurances of the authorities, versus the observable experiences of those on the scene.

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