Sunday, July 24, 2005

Canada: National Security: Opposition leader Harper wants tuffened national security, TO's Moscoe defeatist on subway security

Stephen Harper, the peripatetic opposition leader for the Tories in the House of Commons, complete his 10-day campaign tour of Onatrio by a low-key visit to Toronto's Lake Ontario area, but had a strong message. He isn't happy with the state of the country's national security situation,

Canada Map ok
National Security

Toronto Subway Security

he thinks the Liberals are lacklustre in taking command of supplying identifiable needs, and he is calling for a major overhaul of the various Federal agencies overlooking security concerns and their relations with counterpart bureaucracies on the provincial and local levels.

"Any country that opposes the views of some of these organizations is going to be named by them," he said while touring the city's lakefront. "Our country has been named by them as a potential target and we have to take that seriously."

Harper reiterated his call for the creation of an new authority of a commissioner of national security to co-ordinate all security and defence services.

"We should never deceive ourselves into thinking that we're somehow beyond any of this activity," he said.

Meanwhile, the Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, Howard Moscoe, continued to put his defeatist foot in his repeatist mouth, for which he was called a "buffoon" by Canada Free Press' Associate Editor Arthur Weinreb. I scored that Weinreb's remark at the time, but now I'm thinking perhaps Moscoe deserved what he got and perhaps needs more of the same. Defeatism is not the way to go, not the talk, not the way to joke. It is the way to die, should terrorists ever come the way of our subterranean transport lines. And they choose the time and place. Yes, the task is immense. But Moscoe can no longer hide out in the problems of the past, no matter how difficult their resolution had been and no matter what good work he had done in that previous phase of our life together in this great city. We stand to get it in the neck, in the Tube (to borrow London's term,; so does Montreal's Metro, as its called).

Howard, you can put cameras in buses and subwaycars.

Howard, you can think-thru the Toronto of the Future in its present condition of being vulnerable to mass transit terorism.

Terrorism clearly poses a greater threat to some cities than to others. The symbolic global importance and high population density of London and New York made them inviting targets to terrorists. Moreover, unlike smaller cities and suburbs and more modern, sprawling places such as Phoenix, Houston or Los Angeles, which depend on multiple job centers and private cars, centralized London and New York rely on the very transit modes -- subways, trains and buses -- that terrorist operators clearly target. Over the past three decades, in fact, terrorists have attacked such transportation systems to kill more than 11,000 people in cities from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Baghdad to Madrid and London.

As Toronto's Sun has suggested there are some technological things that can be done, well before they're overdone. Look further in the article just quoted from The Washington Post, by Joel Kotkin, July 24, 2005

Technological measures -- from cameras in subway tunnels to radiation-scanning devices at highway approaches to major cities -- can also help improve security, as can steps like putting more police and bomb-sniffing dogs on trains, buses and subways, as New York recently decided to do. But the notion of imposing the kinds of controls we now see at airports -- magnetometers and scanners and body searches at the entrance to every public place -- would make life in cities far less enjoyable, and anonymous, than it is today, and is to be viewed strictly as a last resort.

Howard, don't skip litely to visions proferred by capitlist architectural and condominium developers and real-estate operators. Think about how to get real for the real people who use the actual subway over which you preside. If you've already reached your highest level of competence and now can only serve us up with defeatism based on nostalgia for a bygone day, then please, we thank you for all you've done, but resign pronto! We need someone else if you've met your Peter Principle. Perhaps you could take a year off from politics and study the urban security of Toronto against terrorism. You were a great civil servant (as will as city councillor), and you could be yet again. But not running for the New Defeatist Party, and not by sitting on or chairing the Toronto Transit Commision.

Last but not least, on a hi-er philosophical level, we all need to re-evalute certain orientations toward national policy that makes Toronto especially vulnerable these days.

Consider London's multiculturalist Mayor Ken Livingstone, who last year actually welcomed a radical jihadist, Egyptian cleric Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, to his city. ¶ Multiculturalism and overly permissive immigration policies have also played a role here in North America. Unfettered in their own enclave, Muslim extremists in Brooklyn helped organize the first attack on the World Trade Center in the early 1990s. Lax Canadian refugee policies have allowed radical Islamists to find homes in places like Montreal and Toronto, where some might have planned attacks on this country, like the alleged 2000 plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport.

We need to keep up an active open stance of welcome to our Muslim community, but we do not need to continue in the lax manner of "Lax Canadian refugee policies [that] have allowed radical Islamists to find homes in places like Montreal and Toronto where some" are probably planning their day of glory right now - in the subway system over which you preside, in all your own glorious defeatism, Mr. Commissioner!

Hopefully, if Stephen Harper's proposed Security Czar is created and assigned powers, staff, and enforceable coordination, laggards like Moscoe will have to widern the horizon and level of effective provision and action - and get the support needed to do so. Toronto's subway system is a national asset, tho the Liberals have long thawt of it as merely internal civic concern. With Harper's Security Czar in place, we should have the wherewithal to do what must be done.

- Politicarp

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