Friday, July 08, 2005

EDITORIAL: Is Canada next?

It's time those in charge of this nation's security started telling Canadians the truth. That is, that a terrorist attack on Canada by al-Qaida now seems inevitable.

With yesterday's atrocities in London, four of the five so-called "Christian nations" named by Osama bin Laden himself as potential targets have now been hit.

* The United States suffered through the horrors of 9-11, in which 3,000 innocent civilians were slaughtered.

* The 2003 al-Qaida bombing in Bali was aimed at Australia, whose citizens flock there on holiday. Of the 202 people killed, the single largest group - 88 - were Australians.

* Last year, an al-Qaida group operating in Spain attacked Madrid's subway system, killing 200 commuters.

* And yesterday, a group calling itself "The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe" claimed responsibility for four bombings on London's transit system. Dozens of commuters on their way to work were slaughtered and hundreds more wounded, in a city that had just finished celebrating being chosen as the host of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The fifth and final country bin Laden has singled out as a potential target, as Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan herself noted yesterday, is Canada - although she added that so far there have been no specific threats.

That's small comfort.

According to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, at least 50 terrorist groups now operate in Canada, including al-Qaida, raising money, acquiring weapons, infiltrating immigrant communities and setting up travel networks.

What is also deeply worrying is that so many Canadians continue to believe - tacitly encouraged by, if not McLellan, then far too many other Liberals - that we are safe from an al-Qaida attack because, unlike the other four countries already hit, we did not participate in the Iraq war.

No, we didn't. But we do have our soldiers in Afghanistan, where they have been involved in the war on terrorism from the very start, and where they have now assumed a leading role.

Meanwhile, the group that claimed credit for yesterday's attacks said they were in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And while it didn't mention Canada - threatening Italy and Denmark instead - al-Qaida has long made its intentions about our country crystal clear.

Just last month, the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, chaired by Liberal Senator Colin Kenny, again warned that Canada's borders continue to be insecure.

In other words, we are sleepwalking towards a disaster.

Next story: EDITORIAL: 'Incredibly dangerous'


Edmonton Sun