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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. 

Calgary, AB
Campbell River, BC
Castelgar, BC
Comox, BC
Cranbrook, BC
Dawson Creek, BC
Edmonton, AB
Fort McMurray, AB
Fort St-John, BC
Kamloops, BC
Kelowna, BC
Montreal, QC
Mont-Tremblant, QC
Nanaimo, BC
Penticon, BC
Prince George, BC
Prince Rupert, BC
Quebec City, QC
Quesnel, BC
Richmond, BC
Sandspit, BC
Smithers, BC
Terrace-Kitimat, BC
Toronto, City Centre, ON
Toronto Pearson, ON
Vancouver, BC
Victoria, BC
Williams Lake, BC

[PoliticsWatch updated 1:00 p.m. December 21, 2006]

OTTAWA  —  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 October. 

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 11.  

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."

:  Related Links

> Canada provides details of no-fly list 

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