NEWS

Lisa Raitt slams handling of pipe bomb incident

01/15/2014 04:24 EST | Updated 03/17/2014 05:59 EDT
Federal Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt calls it "unacceptable" that a young man found with a pipe bomb at Edmonton International Airport was allowed to continue on with his flight.

“The safety of Canadians and the travelling public is our government’s top priority," Raitt told CBC News in a written statement. "This individual should not have been allowed to board his flight, and it is unacceptable that [Canadian Air Transport Security Authority]​ waited four days before seeking the RCMP's assistance."

Skylar Vincent Murphy, 18, was allowed to get on a flight at Edmonton International Airport on Sept. 20 after he was caught bringing a pipe bomb to security.

Four days later, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) alerted RCMP to the case. Murphy was arrested  by on Sept. 27, eventually convicted and fined $100 for possessing an explosive device.

Murphy, in a text reply to CBC News, said, "I've been advised not to comment. I will however tell you that what has
been published is not at all an accurate portrayal of what happened."

Critics have lined up to blast the authority for its handling of the case. 

"This is really shocking for the general public," said Michel Juneau-Katsuya, former senior manager and intelligence officer with CSIS and CEO of Northgate, an intelligence company.

"It begs the question, how secure are we really?" he said. "After 9/11 we still need to explain to you the danger of somebody coming to the airport with a bomb?"

Peter St. John, a professor at the University of Manitoba and an expert on airport security, said the incident shows how poor security at Canadian airports is.

"The fact that we're not aware of this is because it's not been seriously challenged," he said. "We haven't had a really nasty situation. It doesn't mean that we couldn't have a really bad situation."

Raitt said she will ensure the incident isn't repeated.  

"I will be calling the president of CATSA today to ensure the organization takes further action to better protect the safety of Canadian travellers.”

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