AS SOMEONE once said: "Canadians are too darn nice." That's us, nice!
It might be the welcoming card for terrorists and their hellish behaviour, which has now has sent shockwaves throughout the world and could rear its ugly head on the U.S.-Canada border.
However, Ottawa has failed to show the kind of strong leadership in alerting the average Canadian citizens to the multiple dangers.
While former U.S. Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, with his warnings against an "open border" and "amnesty" with Mexico may have had some effect on American political leaders since an immigration bill has been delayed until after the Memorial Day weekend, Canada and its Citizenship and Immigration department and its minister, Diane Finley, appear content to be just "nice."
As a former Middle East bureau chief for a major news organization based in Jerusalem, I was at first shocked and then thankful for Israel's extremely cautious security system, which checks and double checks travelers from other lands, including Canada.
The first instance of such vigilance occurred in late 1990 while leaving Cairo, Egypt for Tel Aviv. It involved eight hours of checking and re-checking luggage and also questioning at length each of the passengers on the El Al flight. After eight hours, this reporter was taken along with some 150 passengers to the far end of the Cairo airport in complete darkness.
Once at the end of the tarmac, at least what seemed to be five miles away, each passenger had to claim his or her own luggage in the dark before departing.
Of course, the reason for such precautions was that the Gulf War was about to erupt in the Middle East.
Today, the extremists seem bent on disrupting any semblance of peace with their ungodly schemes of murder and mayhem and although Canada has security checks and balances, I wonder if its enough.
Are we ripe for an attack from within our own borders?
It seems so simple to obtain Canadian citizenship: * Be 18 years of age or older; be a permanent resident of Canada; have lived in Canada for at least three or four years before applying; be able to communicate in either English or French; know about Canada; and know about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Then if you are between the ages of 18 and 54, you must pass a citizenship test with such questions as: Who are the Aboriginal peoples of Canada? Where did the first European settlers in Canada come from; What does Confederation mean; List four rights Canadian citizens have? What does the Canadian flag look like? What is the population of Canada? What are the three main types of industries in Canada? Who is Canada's Head of State; What is the capital city of the province or territory in which you live?
These might not be the exact questions you will be asked, but the test, according to the CIC, is made up of similar questions.
On April 10, 2004 in the Globe and Mail, Patrick Grady reviewed Stewart Bell's book, How Canada Nurtures and Exports Terrorism Around the World.
Grady opened with these words: "Canadians will be madder than hell after they read Stewart Bell's shocking account of how the Canadian government has allowed Sikh, Tamil and Islamic terrorists to come into our home and turn it into a safe house for international terror."
Grady finished up his thesis with these words: "Stewart Bell's clarion call for action needs to be heeded before the ticking Canadian terrorist time bomb blows up closer to home. If Canadian terrorists aren't stopped before they use weapons of mass destruction in the United States, we'll have far bigger problems than keeping the border open for trade."
And what about security on the B.C.-Washington state border?
"Am I going to tell you I've hermetically sealed this border? No that's not true. I can put a million agents out there and have them run willy-nilly across the border catching everything that moves and throwing it back," Border Patrol's Joe Giuliano in Blaine, Wash. was quoted by NewsMax.com in July 2005. "Two hours later, they're going to try again ... and sooner or later somebody's going to find that one little seam and exploit it."
STORMY WEATHER AHEAD: It's fire season from California to Florida to Georgia and now on the horizon are those dastardly hurricanes. The first one, Andrea, fizzled into a subtropical depression after churning up the waters off Florida to North Carolina, but the weatherman claims there are 20 still brewing ... And they all have names such as Barry, Chantal, Dean, Erin, Felix, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Noel, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.