Canada didn’t learn from Air India bombing: report


Toronto : A report by a Canadian senate committee has said the country is ill-prepared to meet major human and natural disasters.

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Highlighting that Canada has not learnt any lessons from the 1985 Air India bombing and the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, the report by the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence said these tragedies failed to serve as a wake-up call to the authorities.

All 329 passengers were killed when the Air India flight from Toronto to Delhi was brought down by a bomb, planted by Vancouver-based Babbar Khalsa militants, near the Irish coast June 23, 1985.

The outbreak of SARS, a respiratory disease, claimed 44 lives in Canada in 2003.

In both the cases, the Canadian authorities were caught ill-prepared, leading to a huge loss of life.

The senate committee report, titled “Emergency Preparedness in Canada: How the Fine Arts of Procrastination and Bafflegab Hobble the People Who Will Be Trying to Save You When Things Get Really Bad”, said wrangling among various government agencies hampered the country’s preparedness to meet natural and man-made disasters.

The nation’s disaster response system also suffered from a lack of coordination at federal and provincial levels because of jurisdiction issues, it said.

The report said it “isn’t easy making progress on any file that crosses jurisdictional lines, particularly when some provinces are openly antagonist about having their jurisdictions invaded no matter how serious the issue”.

It also took the government to task for not putting in place a system to give timely warning to the Canadians through the broadcast media about natural and human disasters.

It is the second report by the senate committee since the 9/11 attacks in the US.