As many as 2,000 names on no-fly list: Cannon
Published Tuesday, June 19, 2007 7:55AM EDT
As many as 2,000 people have secretly been declared security threats and will be denied airplane boarding passes as a result of the Canadian no-fly list, according to a report.
Transportation Minister Lawrence Cannon told The Globe and Mail there are "roughly between 500 and maybe 2,000" on the list, which went into effect on Monday. Security experts had guessed the file contained no more than 1,000 names.
When compared to the U.S. no-fly list, which was created after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, "ours is much more limited in terms of the criteria," Cannon told the newspaper.
More than 100,000 people are on the U.S. no-fly list, including pre-schoolers, peace activists and -- for a time -- at least two Canadian MPs and U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.
Canada's new program, called Passenger Protect, passed its first full day Monday without any problems, Cannon said.
The minister said the anti-terror measure has been thoroughly assessed to ensure it does not violate any civil liberties and rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
"I'm quite satisfied that the regulations that were published are the right regulations," Cannon told The Globe.
But critics and human rights groups believe the list isn't necessary and could ground innocent travellers. Officials also believe the Canadian list might eventually be merged with the U.S. one.
The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations has called for the Specified Persons list to be scrapped until some of its fundamental flaws are fixed.
The group fears the measure could lead to racial and religious profiling and the blacklisting of innocent people.
There have been countless incidents in the U.S. where passengers were mistakenly grounded as a result of the security check.
Beginning Monday, the names of passengers at Canadian airports are now cross-checked with the no-fly list, which has been compiled by Transport Canada with the help of CSIS and the RCMP.
The criteria for the list includes a person who is or has been involved in a terrorist group, a person who has been convicted of life-threatening crimes against aviation or a person who has been convicted of one or more serious offences who may attack an air carrier.
Passengers over the age of 18 must carry one piece of government-issue photo ID or two pieces of non-photo ID. Starting Sept. 18, anyone who appears older than 12 must be carrying ID.