MP wants Cannon to explain airport
[PoliticsWatch updated 5:10 p.m., January 31, 2007]
|Travellers brave long line ups at Pearson
OTTAWA — NDP
MP Peter Julian wants Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon to appear
before a Commons committee to explain how 250,000 passengers weren't
properly screened at Toronto's Pearson International Airport last
Julian will have his motion calling for Cannon to appear
debated at the next meeting of the Commons transport
In December, CBC News reported that it learned of a Transport Canada investigation that baggage at Pearson International Airport in Toronto was not properly screened over a four-day period in October.
A work-to-rule campaign by screeners, who worked for the security
firm Garda, created long lines for passengers. Screeners said in letters to Transport Canada that Garda managers took control and allowed 250,000 passengers to rush through security with minimal screening.
The Transport Canada report said that as a result no bags were searched and screening x-rays were ignored at Pearson on October 11.
"It's not clear at this point how many people went through
without being screened," Julian said in an interview with
"Obviously it's a real issue when you have a break down in
Julian said he wants Cannon to explain what happened and whether the
issues associated with it have been rectified.
The NDP MP also said he has questions for Cannon about why the
security company had its contract renewed just weeks after the
Canada's Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) exercised its
option to extend Garda's security contracts at Pearson and 27
airports across the country on November 6.
The contract extension totalled $220 million over a two-year period from April 1, 2007 until March 31, 2009, according to Garda's Web site.
"Those two issues taking place just a few weeks within each
other are areas this committee should be looking at, so I'll be
bringing it forward next week."
Julian also said the committee should also deal with the
"broader issues" surrounding recent problems at CATSA.
Earlier this month, CATSA's chair of the board of directors, retired
general Maurice Baril, resigned.
Cannon told reporters last week that Baril announced his intentions
to leave "a few days after" the two men met to discuss the
findings of a special examination report of CATSA by the auditor
The auditor general's report found that CATSA could not assure its
airport screening procedures can be conducted "economically, efficiently, effectively, and in the public interest."
Cannon said he was "concerned about the content" of the
auditor general's report.
The minister has also requested CATSA's board create an action plan
to correct the auditor general's findings.
Cannon also hinted that further changed can be expected at CATSA's
board of directors. He has asked the 11 board members to
"clarify their intentions" about their duties as board
© PoliticsWatch® 2007. All rights reserved. Republication
or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, including by framing,
copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without
the prior written consent of Public Interests Research and Communications
Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.