Since 1985 there has been no improvement in security at our airports or ports. Nor since 9/11 says the new security report from the Senate. However it's recommendations that all workers in airports and ports be screened has nothing to do with security and everything to do with concerns about organized crime. Hence the recommendations for increasing RCMP at airports and ports, and putting security under the Public Security Ministry.
Canada’s ports are “riddled with organized crime, and nobody seems to be doing much about it,” according to the all-party committee. It wants security clearances for all workers at Canada’s seaports.
In broad sweeping generalizations the report wants all workers searched coming to work. Though this will do little to stop organized thefts or smuggling, since that occurs on site and when workers leave. And part of the problem is also the increased use of privatized security companies
While all this sounds perfectly reasonable at first glance, it is much like the issue of drug testing in the workplace. And the result will be interesting when unions representing these workers challenge the government over this.
The other issue here is not just improved security, but a lack of staffing that is forcing workers in airports to work mandatory overtime, and a management that is authoritarian and abusive. Adding the RCMP to the mix will make the workplace even more volatile.
The Senate document containing 16 recommendations was released as CBC reported chaos during a labour dispute at Calgary airport caused a serious breach in security last December when a rushed airline manager let 30 pieces of luggage fly to Houston without the owners on board.
Internal documents CBC obtained under the Access to Information Act show that Transport Canada is investigating the incident, a direct violation of major international security rules Canada adopted after the 1985 Air India bombing, which killed 329 people.
Continental Airlines has since issued an apology for its mistake last December, but in a scathing letter to the government agency in charge of security, Garth Atkinson, president of Calgary's airport authority, called pre-flight screening out of Calgary “the absolute worst in Canada.”
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