Be alert, but not alarmed

Po­lice, ex­perts urg­ing cau­tion for Canada 150 in Ottawa

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page -

Be alert but not alarmed, po­lice are urg­ing Cana­di­ans who will con­gre­gate un­der the Peace Tower next month for Canada 150 cel­e­bra­tions — a mas­sive pub­lic gath­er­ing for which in­tel­li­gence agen­cies and emer­gency teams have spent months pre­par­ing.

Ex­perts are well aware of what is at stake on July 1, es­pe­cially in the wake of the deadly shoot­ings that erupted on Par­lia­ment Hill in 2014.

“When you’re talk­ing about (Canada) 150, you’re talk­ing about bring­ing a num­ber of Cana­di­ans to­gether,” said Ter­ence Chase, a for­mer Cana­dian Forces sol­dier and direc­tor of B.c.-based se­cu­rity con­sul­tants De­fense In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice.

“It is ex­actly the tar­get-rich en­vi­ron­ment that (at­tack­ers) are look­ing for.”

Ottawa po­lice Supt. Joan Mckenna, who over­sees plan­ning for Canada Day events, said of­fi­cers in the na­tional cap­i­tal will take an all-hand­son-deck se­cu­rity ap­proach that will in­clude ev­ery­thing from ca­nine units to car­bines and long guns.

“We can’t con­trol ev­ery­thing,” Mckenna said. “What we can con­trol is that there is strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the fed­eral in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, the RCMP and our Ottawa po­lice in­tel­li­gence sec­tion. This hap­pens daily, so there’s lots of com­mu­ni­ca­tion hap­pen­ing with our po­lice part­ners in this area.”

The pub­lic should be vig­i­lant, but not afraid, she added.

“There’s lots of eyes and ears out there — not just the po­lice but there’s the pub­lic ... city work­ers, any­one part of emer­gency plan­ning,” Mckenna said.

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