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Goodale vows 'seamless collaboration' among security agencies ahead of July 1

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. Goodale says there will be "seamless collaboration" among security and intelligence agencies across the country in preparation for events around Canada Day.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
June 06, 2017 - 7:00 AM

OTTAWA - There will be "seamless collaboration" among security and intelligence agencies across the country in preparation for events around Canada Day, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Monday.

Municipal and provincial police forces will be involved in security measures along with the RCMP, Goodale told a news conference in Gatineau, Que., adding that officials will do everything possible to keep Canadians safe.

"We will not be intimidated by the kind of horrible behaviour that has been exhibited so recently in the United Kingdom," he said.

The House of Commons paused for a moment of silence on Monday to honour seven people killed in the weekend terror attack in London, including Christine Archibald, a 30-year-old from British Columbia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also spoke by phone with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and the two leaders agreed to continue to co-operate to counter the threat of terrorism and radicalization, a spokesperson said.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says Canada's capital will do everything it can to prevent an attack when it hosts the country's 150th birthday on July 1, but admits no amount of preparation can guarantee absolute safety.

"When you see a tragedy that took place in London and on London Bridge and in Manchester, you think, 'Could that happen here?' and sadly, the answer is yes," Watson said on the weekend.

"There's no 100-per-cent solution to terrorism."

Intelligence gathering in advance of the Canada 150 celebrations and extreme vigilance during the Parliament Hill events will be key, said Chris Mathers, a former RCMP officer who now works as a crime and risk consultant.

"There will be people scanning the crowd," Mathers said. "There will be tactical teams, there will be bomb-disposal teams. From now on at any large gathering, that's what you're going to have. It's just inevitable. The costs are astronomical."

Police and security officials "know who the bad guys are" and will be watching them closely, Mathers said, adding it is difficult to know when a lone-wolf attacker might act.

"You decide you're going to drive a vehicle into a bunch of people and then get out and start stabbing a bunch of people, how do the security services find out about that? If you don't say anything to anyone, you just get it in your head to do it, it's very difficult to stop."

Jantine Van Kregten, Ottawa Tourism's director of communications, said she's seen no evidence that people are changing plans to be in Ottawa for Canada Day, given the recent terrorist activity overseas.

Security is always top of mind for special events in Ottawa, and Canada Day is one of the biggest of them all, Van Kregten said.

"That is the biggest day of the year, so it is not something they're just addressing now because of recent attacks in London," she said in an interview. "It is a reality of our lives today that in our communities we need to be vigilant."

The government will ensure Canada remains a top tourist destination and people from all around the world should visit Parliament Hill, Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger said Monday.

"This place belongs to the people," she said in an interview. "We will do everything we can to ensure their safety."

Dan Brisebois, the City of Ottawa's director of operations and special events, would not divulge safety plans for Canada Day for security reasons but said staff have been preparing for the event since early this year.

"The Office of Emergency Management is working with internal and external stakeholders to develop a Canada Day emergency management plan to provide for a safe and secure Canada Day for residents and visitors," he said in a statement.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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