Air Canada, Goodale deny U.S. security chief's suggestion airline faced terrorist plots
In a wide-ranging interview with CTV’s Power Play on Friday, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly seemed to suggest that Air Canada had been the target of thwarted terrorist plots -- a suggestion the airline denied.
“The most significant threat is a terrorist attack… on aviation,” Kelly, a former Marine Corps general, told Power Play host Mercedes Stephenson when asked about the biggest security threat facing Canada and the U.S.
“That seems to be, again, their Stanley Cup playoff,” he added. “I can’t count the number of airplanes that have not been blown up in flight, whether they’re United or Air Canada. I can’t give you, because it’s classified, the number of plots that we have over the last 15 years interrupted, but I can tell you there are dozens of plots ongoing all the time.”
Air Canada said there was no truth in the suggestion the airline faced any plots.
“Air Canada’s policy is generally not to discuss issues of security,” spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told CTVNews.ca in a statement. “However, there is no truth whatsoever in the suggestion that Air Canada may have been involved in such threats.”
Kelly was in Ottawa Friday to meet with several senior Liberals, including the ministers of Public Safety, Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was quick to contextualize Kelly’s statement.
“The Secretary’s comment was a very general comment -- it did not reflect a specific threat against a specific airline,” Goodale told Power Play, immediately following Kelly’s interview. “Obviously, if there were a specific threat, we would be taking a very detailed course of action.”
When asked if there have ever been threats made against Air Canada, Goodale replied, “Not during my tenure as Minister, no.”