Reflections on a Healthy, Safe World

Jul 15, 2014

As I end my nine years as first Executive Editor of this fine magazine, and reflect upon the coming security challenges we face as Canadians in the next half decade and beyond, what has most struck me is the exponential increase in the number and complexity of security challenges and risks brought about by a myriad of important factors, the most prevalent of which is the dominating and increasing presence, influence and dependence upon the internet for everything in our much changed “every day lives”.

One need only think about what is immediately before us in the recent Transportation Safety Board Report on the Lac Mégantic railway tragedy in Quebec, and wonder how such scams and risks could have gone unnoticed or been left unverified and uncorrected for so long.

We can look to our South, where evidently poverty, unemployment and, quite likely, racism turned a petty theft incident into violence and death in ­Ferguson, Missouri. In response to what might otherwise be found to be a legitimate grievance against police action, we witnessed the appalling scene of people looting local stores and violent rioting with casualties that forced the call-out of the National Guard and federal intervention by no less than the US Attorney General to control this brutal confrontation and restore peace and order.

Looking further, there is the greater and dangerous international poker game playing out on the Ukraine-Russia border which challenges major leaders of the free-world and the legitimacy of international laws, institutions and treaties.

The over 192,000 deaths to date in the crisis with ISIS terrorists along the Syria-Iraq border, among whom have been recruited several Canadian so-called “jihadists”, and the continuing violence in Gaza are other arenas where the information war has had remarkable, unprecedented and sometimes criminal influence based on social media.

No, we are not immune, and we must insist that our elected officials and our governmental structures do their duty and minimize risks to our safety and well-being. To do so, they must take action to produce effective legislation and to bring culprits to heel – be it at the international, national, provincial or local levels. That too will be facilitated if proper allocation of the internet is afforded to emergency responder agencies, and regulatory regimes are seen to be enforced.

This is no time for isolated ‘Ivory Towers’! “Not my job” is not a legitimate answer in such a world. Effective cooperation and coordination is possible and expected of all authorities.

For instance, try to swallow this one as reported on 18 Aug 2014 by the Customs and Immigration Union: “Three officers […] were on duty earlier this year at a local port of entry when an RCMP officer contacted the port with an urgent request for assistance to help apprehend a reportedly armed individual who was suspected in a child kidnapping and wanted on outstanding warrants. In accordance with their understanding of ongoing inter-agency assistance protocols and section 129(b) of the Criminal Code which requires such assistance when asked, the officers immediately responded, as did the Superintendent on duty. Together with the RCMP they were successfully able to apprehend the individual in question. They were away from the port of entry, which remained staffed by three other officers, for approximately one hour. The incident was formally reported to CBSA senior management approximately 12 hours later. Following the incident, the RCMP formally thanked the CBSA officers in question.

Rather than commend the officers for their swift actions that helped keep the community safe, local CBSA management advised that the officers would be investigated for leaving the port of entry for an “unauthorized” purpose. Last week, CBSA imposed suspensions of between 4 and 25 days to the Officers. UNBELIEVEABLE!

On a more positive side, I have been impressed with much that is going on with our Health and Emergency Medical Response agencies across the country. We have dedicated this issue primarily to them. But even here, we cannot escape some major recent shortcomings in responsibility and accountability such as the ORNGE Air scandal of its past CEO, the purchase of new aircraft, and the June 2013 accident that killed four.

Happily, as Cameron Heke presents in this issue, there are other examples which I am pleased to see: the Shock and Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) in the Prairie provinces… what a ­contrast!

On the matter of Emergency Communications itself, Chief Jeff Brooks, and Inspector (retd) Lance Valcour graciously provide us with an up-to-date view of the 700MHz Emergency frequency communication allocation progress, challenge and upcoming national and international fora and issues.

Though I was unable to interview Dr. Taylor, the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, I did receive responses from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) through Patrick Gaeble, of their Public Relations Office, who was able to clarify the role and achievements of the Agency over the last ten years.

As well, you will read in interviews conducted at the sharp end, that the means, methods, expectations and standards for medical emergency response are evolving rapidly and will rely more and more on trustworthy and effective communication of medical information on site. Greg Forsyth, Superintendent Special Operations for the Ottawa Paramedic Service, paints a clear and proud picture of what his expectations are. Likewise, Dwayne Forsman, the Chief Administrative Officer/ Secretary/ Treasurer for the Paramedic Association of Canada, is proud of the progress but voices quite clearly some needed improvements such as communications and a nationally recognized registry for paramedics.

In our rural counties, Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health at the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit in Ontario offers her reflections on public health and our security beyond the emergency response level, wherein she wisely explains how working towards a healthy and active community should, in turn, ­create a more secure society.

Richard Bray provides an update on marine border surveillance and the significant progress that has been made through the RCMP-led deployment of Accipiter Radar’s automated analytical radar systems in the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes region.

Exemplifying other important use of radar surveillance, we bring you a report on Operation Driftnet, and how the joint patrols conducted annually by DND, Fisheries and Oceans, and numerous international partners support enforcement of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) which polices the UN ban on high seas driftnets.

Casey Brunelle paints a very good picture of the U.S. National Guard at home and abroad, which provides some potential for wise emulation in Canada. Another such volunteer public safety force, the U.S. Civil Air Patrol offers us similar reflection as described by Lt-Col Steven Solomon.

Ken Pole does double duty for us, covering both covering the issue of the evolving use of UAVs in Controlled Airspace and that of Simulator Training for the Law Enforcement sector.

Eric Spence informs us of the very ­pertinent recent study by Aite Group on Consumer Fraud which should alert and inform our readers of all levels.

Blair Watson, another of our regular contributors, adds an interesting and complementary article on the dangers and complexities of identity fraud.

Finally, Scott Newark, the lead of my very helpful trio of Associate Editors who helped steer this ship for the past nine years, again offers his very expert advice on the importance of intelligence-led enforcement strategies and the need for them in enhancing our immigration and border processes in his One Last Thing column.

I would like to thank my publisher, Chris MacLean and her team, and wish her well in the search for a less-rusty Editor-in-Chief. It is important that the pages of FrontLine Security continue on its mission to stimulate discussion, offer advice, and influence action in effective governance in fostering national security.

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2014