Terror activity (regardless of which group you categorize as terrorists) is once again a media hot topic, and this time there are clear Canadian connections. Your first thoughts might be something like “I thought Obama already won the War on Terror,” or “who do we need to protect from terrorism, the Canada Geese?”.
Although the average Canadian might not worry about terrorism, the government does. For many years now, the RCMP has used a “multi-layered approach” in deterring Canadian airspace terrorism through the Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program (CACPP). With new groups popping up on Canada’s list of terror entities, how will our government bolster the CACPP?
On Wednesday, in a bold move that might alleviate any fears of terrorism in Canadian airspace, Ottawa decided to let security officers carry loaded guns on commercial flights. Before the big change, security officers could only carry unloaded guns, which may have served the purpose of making the officers look really tough (no official statement found). Now, with loaded guns, they will probably look tough and be able to shoot anything suspicious – it’s like evolving your Wartortle to a Blastoise.
The government has made it clear that “in-flight security officials” will grab the gats when the change takes effect July 14, but who composes this select group? Possibly due to a sadistic PR manager, but more likely due to national security measures, the government is declining to share who they consider an “in-flight security official”. If you’re on a plane, taking that long walk to the back for a mid-flight bathroom break, and someone jumps up wielding a gun, there’ll probably be an accident… in your pants. If you don’t know better, you might think you’re part of a terror attack. There are a few ways you might act going forward with this lack of knowledge: 1) never worry when someone takes out a gun in-flight, 2) find a safe position, evaluate the situation, and act accordingly, or 3) when someone pops up from seat 27A with a pistol, freak out like the average human being would in a crisis. To be honest, Canadians probably don’t care about this secrecy – or, at least, when given a political voice, don’t expect many of us to pipe up about our problems.
It seems as though the government is taking a firm stance to stop any terrorist plots in Canada–we will stop their weapons with our weapons. Yet, it might be worth taking a step back and wondering why there would be any terrorism in Canada in the first place. Could Canada’s somewhat inconsistent approach to foreign policy cause frustration among other groups? With many Canadians frustrated and embarrassed by our international relations, it’s probably reasonable to expect some people outside of Canada feel the same way.
Rather than ‘fight fire with fire,’ a better counter-terror approach would address and alleviate this anger and resentment. Instead of adding bullets to our counter-terrorist programs, it might be time for us to reevaluate the decisions we’re making on the international stage. A more balanced approach to foreign intervention that looks at social injustice from an unbiased perspective could build a better international reputation for Canada–which could mean less anger directed at our nation. Essentially, building a strong reputation as a global peacekeeper might be the most proactive counter-terrorism strategy we can take going forward.