Everyone who travels by plane today always has security on their mind. From the increased security checking at airports to the tightened flight rules policy regarding the movement of pilots in and out of the cockpit the 9/11 incident has waken everyone in the airline industry and the FAA up. On a recent trip to Toronto I had a shocking experience when both Air Canada and Toronto International Airport showed a lack in security measures and ignorance to passenger safety. In this day and age lack of security makes no common sense. Their refusal to implement a standard of security equal to that of the United States only increases the likelihood of a terrorist attack from Canada and makes it easy for someone to carry out the same 9 11 plan. Here are some of the examples of what I experienced:
Cockpit Door: Not Reinforced
The FAA gave orders to all of the U.S. air carriers to reinforce the cockpit door. The 911 hijackers made their way to the cockpit and broke into it easily. It was quite evident shortly after the 911 incidents when a crazed individual made his way through the cockpit door on another plane flying from Chicago O’Hare Airport to LAX. The FAA pushed the airlines to spend millions on this safety feature. Not Air Canada. The Cockpit door is as fragile as ever. On a 767 no less.
Cockpit Door: Wide Open
On a flight that I took from Miami to Las Vegas a few months ago, I noticed with some degree of comfort that the cockpit door on the US carrier that I was flying was closed. I mean closed shut, prior to takeoff, during the flight and right up until the gate. The FAA made it clear to the pilots that by flying with the door open, they obviously leave the plane vulnerable for a hijacking. On the Air Canada flight, I was amazed see the cockpit door wide open during taxing and open after takeoff as well. The Captain even came out of the cockpit and mingled with the first class passengers. What happened to security? Not on an Air Canada flight!
Security at Toronto International airport: Who’s in charge?
The most shocking part of my trip to Toronto was coming back. I arrived at YYZ (airport code for Toronto) and went through US Customs and Immigration quickly (Most major Canadian cities have US Customs and Immigration at the airport). Then I got to the security check point. Security in Canada at the airports is not run by the Canadian Government, but by a security company that pays minimum wage. In the U.S. we went through this stage and found this type of security personnel to be inadequate. In Canada,the security people are from stable countries like Pakistan and various parts of the Middle East. This is because the Canadian immigration system allows almost anyone to come into their country. The lowest paying jobs are with airport security. Finding them running security only adds to ones sense of fear. Let’s not get into the issue of ‘Just because they are from… Doesn’t mean that they are….’, What I am saying is that a disproportionate amount of foreign nationals running the security at an airport in this day and age is not wise.
No Serious Security Procedures
Anyone Going though any U.S. airport will tell you that security is at its peak. They check baggage, carry on bags, and even ask you to take off your shoes. They have equipment that detects trace amounts of explosive materials. The US airport security takes a swab and wipes your shoes, clothing, and briefcase. They ask you to unbuckle your belt, and empty your pockets. In the US you have to add an hour more than usual to get through security. In Las Vegas it took me nearly 2 1/2 hours to get through. In Toronto,3 minutes. How do they do it? Simple. They do nothing. Sure they have the standard pass the bags through the x-ray machine, while at the same time the attendant is talking to fellow worker looking elsewhere. But what about this ‘Sneaker’ checking? Not there. Instead someone passes an ‘old wand’ around you and sends your on your way, while smiling at you and saying “Have a nice day”.
Here’s where the big deal is: With the lack of security at Canadian Airports and at their major air carrier, Air Canada, Canada is a real terrorist threat. Canadian airports are within 1 hour of New York, Chicago, Seattle and 90 minutes from Washington. They are within ‘striking’ distance to our Nuclear Power Plants, including the famed 3 mile island. There are more than a thousand flights a day that leave Canada and arrive in the U.S. The threat from the Great White North is real and alarming. Some of the 911 Hijackers came through Canada. How easy would it have been to take the flight out of Canada on September 11? Now that the US airports are secure, where do you think the next attack may come from?
On CBS’s 60 Minutes, they discovered that Terrorist Cells are being harbored in Canada. The increased middle eastern population has lead to many Canadians and Americans being concerned about the possibility of a terrorist attack being launched from Canada. This combined with poor security measures at their airports and airlines may one day result in a 911 type of attack coming from our neighbor to the north.
Perhaps the Canadian Government and Canadian citizens should ask themselves what the United States would have done should the 911 attacks came from Canadian airports and Canadian airlines. What would be our response should any attack come from across the Canadian border? This wouldn’t be a dispute over fishing rights.
The Canadian Government must take Security at their airports and airlines seriously. Anything less will only put American lives in jeopardy while we wage war on the very terrorists that Canada may be harboring.