Garneau announces new security measures for air travellers, but no details
Published Tuesday, April 11, 2017 1:05PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 11, 2017 6:49PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Transport Minister Marc Garneau says he's ordered new security measures for airline passengers travelling to Canada from certain countries.
But he would not reveal Tuesday what those security measures are, citing security reasons. He said they'll be in place until further notice.
"We continue to evaluate the need for ensuring the security of all passengers coming to Canada from different parts of the world," Garneau said following a cabinet meeting.
"It is based on our evaluation of risk, and for obvious reasons I can't tell you which flights and from which places.... Having said that, we have done this on flights over the years coming from continents like Asia, from Africa, from South America. It is part of our duty to ensure the security of travellers coming to Canada."
Garneau did say that at this point, there are no restrictions on taking laptops into airplane cabins for flights coming into Canada.
The United States and the United Kingdom recently banned laptops and various other electronic devices on flights coming in from certain Middle Eastern and African airports.
A government official clarified that, should travellers from any country face restrictions like the American and British bans on laptops, Canada would have to make that clear. The measures Garneau mentioned Tuesday likely won't be noticed by passengers, the official said. But the official wouldn't say if the new measures came in response to a specific threat, only that they are a response to an ongoing risk assessment.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale directed questions about the measures to Garneau's office, but said any action Garneau took was to keep air travel safe.
"We don't take steps in a capricious way. Canadians need to be assured that everything that needs to be done to safeguard their safety and the safety of air travel is in fact being done," Goodale told reporters on Parliament Hill.
Conservative MP Tony Clement said Canadians are completely in the dark about the security measures.
"It seems like there is a lot of sound and fury, but whether it signifies nothing or something, none of us can judge because we're not given any kind of detail. To say it's national security is one thing, but you have to allow the citizens of this country to know what the threat is, to be on the look-out for what the threat is, and to be assisting the government to make sure there is safety in our airports and airways," he said.
"I have more questions than answers and I'm sure most of the Canadian public feel the same way."
NDP industry critic Brian Masse, who called Tuesday for the government to introduce a passenger bill of rights before the summer, said consumers are frustrated at the lack of clarity.
"It's just more, I guess, confusion at this point in time," Masse said outside the House.
"It's more than just individual rights. It is going to affect companies and business travel too, because those devices and materials are used for both," he said, referring to laptops and iPads.