Securing 2010

Dec 15, 2007

In our winter issue, we have chosen to examine security for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics and have a first glance at how preparations are ­progressing since the official unveiling in September 2006 in Whistler.

At the National level, the government has recently appointed former CSIS Director and DM of National Defence, Ward Elcock as the Special Advisor at the Privy Council Office responsible for G8 and Olympic Security. As it is yet early in his appointment, his staff has asked that we await the New Year for his estimate of the Olympic Security Challenge.

In the meantime, we have had the privilege to obtain the knowledgeable on-the-ground assessment of the security work to date and the work ahead by a former U.S. Secret Service agent and well recognized Olympic and major event security specialist, Mark Camillo. His estimate of needs and focus for the Vancouver Olympics, I am sure, will be of interest.

The RCMP has been charged with the coordination of security for the 2010 Olympics on behalf of the Federal Government. They will coordinate the security with provincial and municipal authorities that maintain their regular security and safety responsibilities in their jurisdictions within what has been described as an “added threat potential” environment. The funding for the security of Olympic venues themselves are a shared responsibility based on a 50-50 cost sharing agreement between the federal government and the Province of British Columbia of the estimated $176.5 Million according to early 2007 figures. It is important to remember that this Security budget is intended for Olympic Venues only. Any municipal policing costs for Olympic events outside of venues are not included in the Olympic Security budget.

Within the context of the interview with Mark Camillo, and BC Minister, Collin Hansen’s May 2007 approval of the Version 11 VANOC Business Plan – ­carrying a $100 million contingency allowance – there is formal recognition of several uncertainties between now and the end of the Games. The Minister’s letter states that “the Province recognizes that VANOC has in place an evolving system of risk management, contingency and deficit avoidance plans and recognizes that there remains a number of uncertainties … contained in the Business Plan.” Thus, the need for cautious deficit avoidance and the recognition of the difficulties of accurate long term predictions for such events are stressed. Remaining a concern, however, is the challenge for all levels of government and business partners to ensure a safe and secure environment for the 2010 Olympics. It should be noted that, according to September figures from VANOC, the $100 million contingency fund has already been reduced to $26.8 million.

Alice Bradbury d’Anjou contacted Assistant Commissioner John Neily, head of the RCMP’s Operational Readiness Response Coordination Centre, and retired RCMP member, Bill Maxwell, to address the challenge of the collective and individual resilience needs of all police and security forces that will be involved in these games, indeed, in any emergency response.

The subject of terrorism always raises mixed reactions and we offer some reflections on the subject as it evolves in our information-flooded ­electronic world. Tom Quiggin, a regular and knowledgeable contributor, gives his view of the potential for terrorism at our 2010 Olympics.

We have asked Professor Sarah Jane Mehargh, an expert in the field of conflict resolution, to address the complex and very thorny issue of measuring the effectiveness of crisis management, be it in Afghanistan, in natural disasters or for events such as the Olympics.

On an international note, we include a travel cautionary for those considering ­attendance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, ­graciously provided by Richard Culver.

Following up on the need for Private contributions to bolster Olympic security, Jacques Brunelle presents Airport Watch, an innovatively orchestrated volunteer system gaining support across Canada. It might also be a model for other realms.

We received many comments on our last issue on Maritime Security. We cannot publish all, but we bring to your attention four items. The first is the response by Professor Rob Huebert of the University of Calgary on the Arctic Maritime challenge. The second is a proposed way ahead for the federal government on Maritime Security by Scott Newark of the National Security Group. Next, we have two accounts of how Canada’s Navy is involved in security operations. Karch MacLean joined HMCS St John’s on a Fisheries Patrol, and Darlene Blakely highlights the success story of a counter-drug operation involving the RCMP and HMCS Fredericton.

Our last article is on information sharing in respect of Critical Infrastructure Security. Since the November 2004 Government of Canada’s “Position Paper on a National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure Protection,” there have been a dozen or more drafts and innumerable “stakeholder consultations”, but, in the view of Critical Infrastructure sector companies, no ­effective strategy. Hence, the information sharing to ensure emergency needs, alertness and response is still not up to what it should and could easily be. Jim Robbins suggests that it is high time Canada join the international trend and establish private–public critical infrastructure information protocols and structures, that are proving necessary and effective in both the U.S. and Europe, to ensure clear, timely and necessary information sharing at home.

All of us at FrontLine Security would like to wish a safe Holiday Season and a calm winter to all!

Clive Addy, Executive Editor
© FrontLine Security 2007