Saturday, June 30, 2007

That was fast!

Transport Canada is trying to deflect the effects of this.
Two boys named Alistair Butt, one from Saskatchewan and one from Ontario, were stopped while trying to board flights last week because their name matches a name that appears on a no-fly list.

The Ontario boy, a 15-year-old from the Ottawa-area town of Orléans, was trying to check in to an Air Canada flight from Montreal to St. John's when he was told he couldn't board.

The Saskatoon boy, who's 10, was also told he couldn't get on an Air Canada flight, although it is not clear what airport he was stopped at.

Both boys were eventually allowed to board, once they were cleared by security after long delays, but their families fear they will face the same problem every time they try to fly.

"Canada is telling him he's guilty until proven innocent every time he flies," the Ontario boy's mother, Heather Butt, told CBC News.

Heather said an airline official at the airport could not say what no-fly list her son's name is on, and how to get it off.

"We said, 'What do we do?' and then, much to our amazement, she said we could possibly change our child's name," Heather said.

But nobody will tell anybody which list these names are actually on.

Transport Canada won't confirm if the boys are on a United States no-fly list, an airline no-fly list or Canada's new no-fly list, which went into effect on June 18.

Canada's list, believed to contain fewer than 1,000 names, is operated by Transport Canada. All domestic airline passengers' names are checked against a list of people deemed to be threats.

The list is not be available to the public, which means those on it will only find out when they try to travel.

Transport Canada advises families to appeal

Allan Kagedan, a Transport Canada spokesman, advised the Butt families to appeal to the organizations operating all three lists.

"You can approach all three, I suppose, and they can guide you in terms of doing what's needed to try to avoid problems in the future," he said.

He would not confirm which list contains the Alistair Butt name.

Because if it's one way to defend a fucked-up process it's by keeping everything about it secret.

Air Canada said it's working hard to prevent delays to passengers and stressed that both boys were eventually allowed on their flights.

"We regret any inconvenience, but security must remain of paramount concern," the airline said in a statement.

What security? This gives the facade of security while providing nothing.

Question to Air Canada, Transport Canada and the Minister of Public Safety: Do you clowns truly believe that someone intent on bringing down an aircraft, who is known enough to authorities to appear on a secret list, is likely to check in using their true identity?

Update: As Darren points out, if by changing his name Alistair Butt gets his name taken off the no-fly list, that is all any potential terrorist has to do.

As I said above, there is no security here. Not only would this not withstand a Charter challenge, it could conceivably provide cover for someone actually intent on bringing down an aircraft.

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