Demands for passenger lists called 'invasive, harmful'
CBC News | June 15 2005
VANCOUVER – The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is sounding a warning about Washington's demand for passenger lists for domestic Canadian flights.
The Americans want to check for names against its secret no-fly list.
The list targets people the U.S. considers potential terrorist threats. Those people can be denied access to U.S. bound flights or subjected to more intense security checks.
Federal Transport Minister Jean Lapierre has already rejected the American demand, indicating that Canadian flights may simply have to fly around U.S. airspace.
Canadian officials have said they plan to lobby the Americans for an exemption.
But B.C. Civil Liberties Association policy director Micheal Vonn isn't convinced Canada has the resolve to resist U.S. pressure.
And Vonn says the no-fly list is "invasive, harmful and potentially discriminatory" – and says it just hasn't done anything to enhance security.
"The no-fly system is in essence a useless piece of security theatre," she says.
"There is to date not a single piece of evidence that demonstrates that no fly systems improves airline security. And not a single terrorist has been apprehended by the system to date."
BCCLA president Jason Gratl worries this country will develop a secret threat assessment of all citizens and then expand it to other forms of cross-border travel.
"That is a caste system, a way of differentiating between Canadians according to criteria that are kept secret and are likely discriminatory," he says. "It does not belong in Canada."
The issue surfaced in April when a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Mexico was turned around before it reached U.S. airspace because it had two Saudi passengers who were on the American no-fly list.
It is already mandatory that any plane flying in or out of the United States provide authorities with a passenger manifest.