Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Letter to Minister of Transport Chuck Strahl re: body imaging machines in Canadian airports

Dear Mr. Stahl:

I love Canada -- particularly our reputation as peace-keepers and freedom-loving outdoors folks.

We are not paranoid like the United States, though we're not blind to the threats that exist in modern life.

After reading the horror stories about the Transportation Security Administration's debacle with its body imaging machines and "enhanced pat downs" of air travelers in the United States, I'm writing to voice my grave opposition to such machines and molestation of Canadian air travelers in order to board a flight.

I write with particular vigilance because the Conservative government has continually shown contempt for Canadian sovereignty -- handing Marc Emery over to US authorities, providing the names of passengers on flights that aren't even landing in the US, etc. -- and so I fear the Harper government will embrace a needless and harmful crackdown on the Canadian citizenry in the form of full body scanners and enhanced pat downs in our own airports.

An article appeared in April, which stated: "An Israeli security expert told Canadian officials their multi-million-dollar investment in full-body scanners for airports across the country was 'useless' and could easily be hoodwinked by terrorists."

When I fly, it's convenient for me to leave from an American airport. Due to their intrusive body scanning machines and unconstitutional pat downs, I will no longer enter an American airport.

My hope is that Canada will approach the issue of airport security in a rational, measured manner.

The United States had the great misfortune of a compromised head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, who -- in his last days in the post -- trumpeted the need for full body scanners throughout American airports, only to leave public life, become a lobbyist and take on as a client a maker of body scanner machines.

That was clearly a baldfaced conflict of interest; a decision having everything to do with personal greed and gain and nothing to do with actual security.

I hope the Harper government will not fall prey to the same chicanery.

Because, if it does, I will simply opt not to fly at all. And I know that I am not alone.

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