Military presence in Canadian airports makes sense

Military presence in Canadian airports? It’s not such a bad idea.

Millions of people access airports every year. As they become targets for terrorist plots and attacks, the level of security must be top-notch.

The main concern at an airport is the airplane being protected from potential attacks. In our post 9/11 world, we have the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), responsible for security screening of passengers and baggage at 89 Canadian airports.

As well as customs and border patrol officers that keep potential threats out of the sky.

In the air, we have air marshals that act as on board security officers to keep the skies safe should anything get past the on ground security.

These security measures keep people in the air safe, but threats on the ground can still go undetected.

Take the 2016 suicide bombing at Brussels Airport in Belgium, where two attackers detonated nail bombs in the departures hall of the airport. A third explosion was prevented only because the force of the previous explosion injured the attacker.

Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, France has a noticeable level of security. Members of the French military roam all sections of the airport.

Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel is viewed by many as one of the safest airports in the world.

With military and police presence, as well as an airport security operations centre that monitors every plane in Israeli airspace, Ben Gurion has remained terror free since 1972.

When a shooting by three members of the Japanese Red Army left 26 dead and dozens more injured, according to a 2016 article from CNN.

Of course, threat levels in Europe and the Middle East are significantly higher than North America and Canada specifically, which attributes to the enhanced security measures. Although, it does help deter attacks. 

In March of 2017, a man named Ziyed Ben Belgacem seized a Famas assault rifle from a solider at Orly Airport in France and, according to the Chicago Tribune, Belgacem yelled “put down your weapons, put your hands on your head! I am here to die for Allah. Whatever happens, there will be deaths.”

He was shot dead by soldiers on patrol before any civilians were injured.

These incidents aren’t exclusive to Europe, though. In January of 2017, a man named Esteban Santiago-Ruiz shot 11 people, killing five in the baggage claim area of Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida.

Ruiz had a 9mm pistol in his checked baggage that he loaded in the washroom before opening fire. One could argue that a U.S. military presence could have stopped the attack. 

This is why Canada should introduce military measures at airports.

While Canada is a relatively safe and terror free country, having not witnessed an inflight terror attack since the 1985 Air India Flight 182 bombing that claimed 329 lives, 268 of which were Canadians.

Inderjit Singh Reyat, a Canadian national and member of a sikh militant group named Babbar Khalsa, was the only person convicted for his involvement in the bombing.

Despite the relative safety, Canadians shouldn’t get too complacent, as staying one step ahead no matter the threat level could prevent another Canadian massacre.

It may seem like a nuisance to have to deal with yet another security measure at airports, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.