January 17th, 2014

Pipe bomb incident shines light on airport security screening problems

In the wake of the Edmonton pipe bomb incident, concerns are being raised about the effect of Conservative budget cuts to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), the agency responsible for airport security.

“Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident – and problems are only being made worse by Conservative budget cuts and a lack of oversight,” said NDP Public Safety critic Randall Garrison (Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca). “Canadians would be surprised to learn that while they are paying more in security fees – now almost $15 for every roundtrip domestic flight – millions of this won’t even be spent on improving airport security.

Between 2012 and 2015, over $120 million of the $2 billion collected in security fees won’t be spent on security, but will go directly into the government’s general revenues. The federal government is also cutting funding to CATSA by over $110 million during the same three year span, despite the fact the number of passengers is increasing every year,

“The same private security company involved in the Edmonton incident provides private security screening services to Pearson International, the busiest airport in Canada,” added Olivia Chow (Trinity – Spadina), NDP Transport critic. “Pearson has seen hundreds of positions cut, lowering security standards and lengthening line-ups and delays.”