Canada lags behind in learning from 9/11 attack: Expert

March 14, 2005

When it comes to learning lessons from the September 11 terrorist attack and the war on terror, Canada still has a long way to go, says a University of Toronto security intelligence expert.

In his paper, Learning Lessons (and how) in the War on Terror, Professor Wesley Wark of U of T's Munk Centre for International Studies argues that despite the federal government's efforts to safeguard Canada from terrorist threats by implementing legal measures such as Bill C-36 and beefing up military spending, it still has not convinced the public that their safety is at risk. "At the end of the day, you can have all the government initiatives you like, but if you don't have public support, you're going to have a failed policy with possibly serious consequences," says Wark, whose paper was published in a special winter issue of International Journal focusing on security issues. "So we need to move toward that greater sense of public knowledge and awareness."

Wark says the government's response to the 9/11 attacks were appropriate and necessary but now it needs to have a long-term strategy to combat terrorism, improve Canadian security and have an informed public debate to examine Canada's participation in the war on terror. "We didn't have such a debate after 9/11 or the war in Iraq or our involvement in Afghanistan. The government has just gone ahead and done certain things, and that way of proceeding is going to fail the public interest," says Wark. He also calls for more transparency and accountability within security intelligence agencies and annual security threat assessments from the federal government to keep the public informed on its responses to threats to Canada's security.
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CONTACT: Wesley Wark, Munk Centre for International Studies, Department of History, 416-946-8954, 519-836-9552, wkwark@aol.com, Suelan Toye, U of T Public Affairs, 416-978-4289, sue.toye@utoronto.ca

University of Toronto

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