Be alert, but not alarmed
Police, experts urging caution for Canada 150 in Ottawa
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.