NEWS

Suspicious packages still arriving at Canadian courthouses

05/07/2015 12:56 EDT | Updated 05/07/2016 05:59 EDT
Suspicious packages, with postmarks from Asia, continue to arrive at Canadian courthouses, with the latest reaching one in Nunavut, as police forces investigate.

The packages have police forces across the country investigating. However, authorities are releasing little information about what's inside them.

On Thursday, the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit was evacuated after a suspicious package arrived. However, justice officials in the territory have only said it could be linked to others across the country.

Another package was discovered Thursday morning at a post office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. It was addressed to the provincial court in the town.

Including Nunavut, a total of about two dozen packages have been intercepted en route to or received at courthouses in:

- Manitoba.

- Nova Scotia.

- Newfoundland and Labrador.

- The Northwest Territories.

On April 8, packages were received by Manitoba court buildings in Winnipeg, Brandon, Morden and Minnedosa. RCMP tested the contents and have said they contained no dangerous chemicals, but police have not revealed the contents.

On Monday, four front counter workers at the Amherst courthouse in Nova Scotia went to hospital complaining of nausea, dizziness and burning in the throat after an envelope sent from Hong Kong arrived. All employees were released from hospital.

'Being done to create unrest'

The Law Courts building on Upper Water Street in Halifax was evacuated for a short time Tuesday afternoon. Halifax police officers with gas masks carried out a plastic container with an orange item inside.

A day later, several  suspicious packages prompted evacuations at several courthouses, government and office buildings across Newfoundland and Labrador.

Also on Wednesday, Canada Post reported intercepting four suspicious packages destined for courthouses across that provinces with a fifth suspicious package delivered to a courthouse in Sydney, Cape Breton, which was evacuated.

A security expert doesn't believe the return address will lead investigators to whoever is sending the material.

David Hyde, who operates a security management, consulting and training company based in Ontario, told CBC's The St. John's Morning Show on Thursday:

"Why are we targeting courthouses here? Could somebody have a grievance with the court system some how?

"It looks like this is being done to create unrest, to create disruption, and obviously it's succeeding to a certain degree."

If the packages are a scare tactic rather than an actual threat, tough decisions will have to be made, Hyde said.

"At what point do we stop evacuating every time a package shows up because we now know we've had 20 of them and they have been benign, although curious, or do we take other steps such as rerouting mail?"

MORE:cbcNews