By Michael Friscolanti - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 0 Comments
One very long delay at the airport
If you land on Canada’s “no-fly list,” good luck getting off. Just ask Hani Al Telbani. Five years after the Palestinian immigrant was famously denied a boarding pass at Montreal’s Trudeau airport, he is still fighting in court to clear his name and get on a plane.
Dino Peles is not a member of the no-fly club. But like Telbani, the 31-year-old Air Canada baggage handler has learned the same hard lesson: once Transport Canada declares you a potential danger, it’s almost impossible to change anyone’s mind—criminal record or no criminal record.
Like thousands of airline employees who work in restricted areas, Peles was issued a “transportation security clearance” in 2006 for his job at Toronto’s Pearson airport. But in 2011, when his file was due for a mandatory review, the feds noticed two blemishes, both related to marijuana. (In 2009, police found Peles in a parked car with $2,500 in cash and nearly $5,000 worth of weed; eight months later, authorities again charged him with possession for the purpose of trafficking after finding more illicit drugs in his vehicle.)
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 1:20 PM - 0 Comments
Sometime between when I wrote this post last night and 10:30am this morning when a reader alerted me to the issue, Transport Canada’s FAQ for the Navigable Waters Protection Act disappeared from the Internet.
I asked the office of Transport Minister Denis Lebel to explain and received the following response.
For years, the Transport Canada website has consistently said “The Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWAP) is an act respecting the protection of the public right to navigate.” The Act ensures a balance between the public right to navigate and the need to build works in navigable waters. That has never changed. Some pieces of inaccurate information have been removed. This link now contains correct information.
The FAQ has now reappeared. It appears to me that there are now no references to the “environment” within it.
Update 3:51pm. There now appear to be two references to the word “environment,” both in a single sentence.
Several federal departments and agencies have additional responsibilities to review the environmental impacts of tailings areas, including Environment Canada.
Update 4:14pm. The previous version had a section entitled “Questions about the Amendments to Navigable Waters Protection Act.” That section has been shortened and is now titled, “Questions about the 2009 Amendments to Navigable Waters Protection Act.” One of the questions that has been deleted was as follows.
Do these changes mean there will be a decline in environmental assessments?
Transport Canada is committed to a healthy and sound environment.
Before the Act was changed, many routine projects required detailed navigational reviews and environmental assessments – even when they involved waters that could not be practically navigated. The effort required to perform these assessments was not proportionate to the actual navigational and environmental risks associated with the project.
The revised Act will reduce the level of review of these minor projects and allow for more in-depth reviews of the substantial projects that are of greater concern to the Canadian public.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM - 0 Comments
Update 4:05pm. The PBO has now posted correspondence with Statistics Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Labour, Industry Canada and Natural Resources Canada.
By David Collenette - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 11:25 AM - 4 Comments
The former transport minister on deciding who to ground and who could fly on Sept. 11, 2001
“Wind up your speech. There has been a tragedy.” This hastily handwritten note, placed on the lectern as I delivered the keynote address at a conference of international airport executives, heralded the longest day of my political life. It was Sept. 11, 2001.
I had gotten up at 5 a.m. to take a Transport Canada Citation jet to Montreal, a groggy start to another long ministerial day. The conference should have been routine. But just after 9 a.m., the audience became restless. This was not unusual for a politician giving a speech; still I was puzzled. For the most part, people had appeared quite interested.
I continued to speak while reading the note, which instructed me to talk to assistant deputy minister Louis Ranger and avoid the media. I feared the worst, probably a serious accident, which Louis did confirm: at 8:45 a.m. a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York. I immediately sensed some type of terrorist act had occurred, since passenger jets just don’t crash into tall buildings if they are in trouble. There are all kinds of emergency procedures for pilots: landing at the nearest airport or ditching in water around Manhattan.
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 9:20 AM - 217 Comments
Our rush hours rank with the world’s worst. Andrew Coyne has the solution.
Day breaks over Canada, and across the country, the morning commuter rises, dresses, hops into his car and is transformed into . . . traffic. Immobilizing, enervating, infuriating traffic, glaciers of metal improbably forcing their way down the nation’s roads each morning, only to have to force their way back up the same roads later in the day.
In Halifax, drivers seethe as they inch through the Armdale Rotary. In Montreal, it’s the seemingly hours-long grind along the infamous Autoroute Décarie. Toronto commuters visibly age waiting for something to move on the “Don Valley Parking Lot.” Calgarians have ample time each day to regret taking Deerfoot Trail, while in the Lower Mainland of B.C., drivers debate which is worse: the bottleneck on the Port Mann bridge or the eternal stretches of Highway 1 on either side of it.
By Michael Friscolanti and Martin Patriquin - Monday, August 30, 2010 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
New documents reveal a fight over defining an ‘immediate threat’
For obvious reasons, Canada’s “no-fly” list is a top-secret document. Only a handful of senior government officials are privy to the file, and even the size (200 names? 2,000?) is considered classified. About the only thing the feds will confirm is that the list is based on “reliable and vetted” intelligence, and if you’re on it, you “pose an immediate threat to aviation security.”
But what does “immediate” really mean? Must an aspiring terrorist walk into an airport with plastic explosives strapped to his chest in order to qualify for the list? Do authorities need irrefutable proof that a hijacker is about to strike? Or is tough talk—on an extremist website, for example—reason enough to ban someone from the skies?
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 31, 2009 at 12:16 PM - 16 Comments
Foreign Affairs objects to the CIA’s use of Transport Canada research in designing interrogation methods.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs department says it’s aware of reports that Transport Canada material has been used by the CIA. ”This is a regrettable use of a publicly available document intended to save lives,” the department said in a statement to CBC News.
Mind you, the Canadian government’s official position is—or at least was, at last check—that the United States did not participate in torture.
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 2:20 PM - 2 Comments
Will the Detroit bridge get built? A Michigan senator says ‘no.’
Do we need a second bridge linking Windsor and Detroit? The Canadian government says yes, and has already spent $34 million on the project, but politicians on the U.S. side are calling it a bridge to nowhere.
Mark Butler, a spokesperson for Transport Canada, says a new bridge is needed, and a private-public partnership is being explored to build it. The government would own the bridge, while a private company pays for its construction and collects tolls. Ottawa has already spent $34 million on 94 acres of land in Windsor, Ont., for the project, and it plans to buy another 202 acres for construction, which has an estimated cost of $1 billion. Continue…
By Michael Friscolanti - Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 9:00 AM - 4 Comments
Al Telbani is on the no-fly list, but how many others are there?
Canada’s “no-fly list” contains at least one name for sure: Hani Al Telbani. As Maclean’s first reported in September, the Concordia University student holds the dubious distinction of being the only person ever denied permission to board an airplane as a result of the screening program, and he is now fighting the federal government in court, demanding to know why authorities consider him an “immediate threat to aviation security.”
Al Telbani aside, the rest of the so-called “Specified Persons List” is a heavily guarded secret. Compiled by Transport Canada with the help of the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), it is the furthest thing from a public document. Only a select few officials have access, and if you’re on it, you won’t find out unless you actually show up at an airport and try to check in.