Harper government renews contracts for
security firm after screening skipped at Pearson Airport
|Garda provides security at 28 airports
across the country. Last month, PoliticsWatch obtained a list
of the airports where the contracts were extended at the
discretion of government without competition.
Campbell River, BC
Dawson Creek, BC
Fort McMurray, AB
Fort St-John, BC
Prince George, BC
Prince Rupert, BC
Quebec City, QC
Toronto, City Centre, ON
Toronto Pearson, ON
Williams Lake, BC
[PoliticsWatch updated 1:00 p.m. December 21, 2006]
The private airport security company accused of allowing lax baggage
checks at Canada's busiest airport in October had its contracts
renewed at Pearson and 27 other Canadian airports less than a month
after the incident.
Canada's Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA)
exercised its option to extend Garda's security contracts at 28
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.
On Wednesday, 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
A work-to-rule campaign by Garda screeners at the airport 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
The report concluded the managers' actions "constituted a gross violation of pertinent legislation" and "severely compromised the travelling public."
Transport Canada and CATSA did not immediately respond to calls from
PoliticsWatch for comment.
The incident occurred weeks after airport security around the globe
had been heightened after British police discovered an alleged
terrorist plot to detonate liquid explosives carried on board as
many as 10 airliners travelling from the UK to the U.S.
Security measures were immediately put in place, which still largely remain, to ban the carriage of liquids of any kind onto planes.
Canada has also been mentioned as a terrorist target in statements
made by Al-Qaeda Leader Osama bin Laden.
John Thompson, a security analyst with the MacKenzie
Institute, said these types of incidents are not surprising given
that airport security tends to be cyclical.
"There's an incident all of a sudden there's a great slamming of barn doors around the world, all of the security goes into play and everybody's really
vigilant," he said in an interview with PoliticsWatch. "Then after two or three weeks the airlines are all bitching at the managers about slow downs and then managers start expediting things."
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