CBC News Federal Election


National Security

Now, Prime Minister, this is a tricky file. You want to reassure people that you are doing everything possible without panicking the people about why you need to do it. It's a balancing act.

But you do need to do something. Auditor General Sheila Fraser said Canada's agencies have to start talking, because the loopholes are big enough that those wishing to do harm can easily squeeze through them.

Fraser tabled a report in March detailing the problems her office found with the anti-terrorism initiative. It's definitely worth a look Link opens in new window.

The report shows that there are 16 different agencies and departments responsible for some part of national security. Fraser said those agencies are not co-ordinating activities or sharing information. For example, if you report your passport missing, you might assume border guards would be aware of that and stop anyone trying to use it. But in many cases, that doesn't happen.

Security measures have changed since Sept. 11, 2001, and people are getting used to more rigorous screening methods at airports and border checkpoints. There's more information here. For a good summary of border measures, why not check this out. But the audit suggests that things aren't necessarily being applied evenly across all lines of defence.

There were some changes implemented after the audit was conducted, so it may be that things aren't as bad as they appear. But do you really want to take that chance? Because that's what it's all about: evaluating the risks – the risks of opening the country to threat and the risks of limiting personal freedoms.

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