Canada is known for many things, but national security is not one of them. An internal review of the Canada Border Services Agency shows that the agency’s systems still contained outdated information until recently. This “oops” in national security has not only had Canadians shaking their heads, but has had the rest of the world confirming that Canada is, indeed, the slower younger brother of the United States.
Over 19,000 electronic notices that warned border officers of flagged travellers have sat in about 117,000 active outlook posts for years. They were not discovered (or put into the system) until a new update, which might have proved to be a little late for any traveller who had some trouble during their recent trips across the border. For anyone who will be waiting for an apology, I suggest holding your breath until you get your Hallmark card in mail.
Due to this inconvenient glitch, it was not only possible for people to be wrongly detained while they crossed, but it also could have allowed suspected terrorists into the country. Cue the suspenseful music, and do not pay any attention to the suspicious family in the RV with the baby made of marijuana. If being trusting was an Olympic sport, Canada would have that competition in the bag. Gold medal, ya’ll!
The PR nightmare plot thickens when we learn that the federal Auditor General flagged this lack of security as a problem last fall. That’s right, the necessary people were aware of the problem, but they were all too busy to fix it because there were more pressing matters to attend to, like tapping maple syrup trees and watching reruns of Corner Gas.
Luckily, the agency has made its way down the priority list, and has been able to put a new system in place. According to the report by Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney, the agency has taken several steps to ensure proper safety, one of which is to conduct random reviews—something you would assume already exists in the worker’s manual. Then again, that’s assuming we have a manual in the first place.
You’d think that, in the age of maximum security, we would have the hang of this by now, but, as it turns out, air carriers also haven’t been doing their jobs. Apparently, they too are not updating their information regularly. Why this is only coming out of the woodwork now is just as baffling and alarming as the information itself. Anyone who has travelled, especially by air, knows that the experience at an airport is a trip in itself. Commuters get X-Rayed, patted down, sniffed, swabbed, stripped, stared at suspiciously, told to walk through a portal that beeps excessively if you keep your belt on, and sometimes probed. Now, thanks to this new information, the cat’s out of the bag; all that fun stuff we had to do was for nothing.