Protecting the intelligence-gathering network while helping to make Canadians aware of the threats to which their country is subjected are both responsibilities that fall to Mr. Fadden. I would argue that he doesn’t merely have the right to warn of dangers to Canada that are highly probable given the privileged knowledge he holds in trust on our behalf. He also has a duty to try and educate Canadians about the nature of those dangers, the limits of the knowledge we have about them and the vigilance that is the price of freedom. To pillory Mr. Fadden for going as far as his job allows him to go in urging Canadians to acknowledge that they live in a dangerous world and must take measures to protect themselves is a poor reward for a difficult job well done.
And there is no doubt that it is exactly this kind of debate to which the head of CSIS is inviting Canadians. He didn’t announce that debate in the CBC interview. He has been calling for it repeatedly in the short time since he took over the reins some months ago. Those who think the head of CSIS simply lost his wits in an interview with Peter Mansbridge and blurted out some unaccountable ravings should consult for example Mr. Fadden’s 2009 speech to CASIS and his agency’s recently released 2008-09 Annual Report. His comments in his televised interview are entirely consistent with the job he has given himself to urge Canadians to think long and hard about the threats posed to Canada by other governments and by non-governmental terror organizations. I laid out in my earlier post why there is lots of evidence that Canadians are living in a dream world if they think that we are all far too nice for other countries to target us for intelligence gathering, espionage, sabotage and worse. And as for terrorism, anyone who read the introduction to former Supreme Court Justice John Major’s comments on the release of his Air India bombing inquiry can be in no doubt that terror finds a comfortable home in Canada:
The bomb that blew up Air India Flight 182 was manufactured in Canada as part of a plot that was developed in Canada. The bomb was hidden in luggage that was placed on a Canadian plane in Vancouver and later transferred to Air India 182 in Toronto which stopped in Montreal to pick up additional passengers before it commenced its fatal flight. Another bomb was placed on a Canadian plane in Vancouver, in luggage destined for an Air India flight, and exploded in Narita, Japan, killing two baggage handlers.
I stress that this is a Canadian atrocity. For too long the greatest loss of Canadian lives at the hands of terrorists has been somehow relegated outside the Canadian consciousness.
Richard Fadden deserves our thanks, not our condemnation.
Should politicians be carrying more of the burden of this debate? No doubt. But we live in politically correct times when a politician breathing a word that might be interpreted as critical of some ethnic community or another is a rare beast, even when it might be necessary for such unpleasant truths to be voiced in the interest of protecting Canadians.
Then Minister Maria Minna and then Finance Minister Paul Martin turned up at an LTTE event in Toronto despite having been warned by the RCMP and CSIS that the Tigers were a terrorist group. Ottawa mayor Larry O’Brien came in for some strong criticism for having bowed to Chinese pressure and revoked his promise to recognise the Falun Gong movement. These are just a few examples culled at random of our politicians’ behaviour.
And as for the canard about the “timing” of Mr. Fadden’s remarks (i.e. on the eve of the G20, the visit of top Chinese officials, etc.) that is just completely off-base. I’ve already shown that he has been working to promote this debate for months, and the CBC had footage of him making similar arguments for some time. It was CBC’s decision to release it now at this sensitive time, not Fadden’s.
Next: Should Richard Fadden be backing away from his remarks?