TORONTO: Even as the relatives of the victims of the Air India bombing in June 1985 paid tributes to their kin on the 28th anniversary of the tragedy, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his public safety minister issued bland statements on a day which is marked as National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism.
The prime minister said, “On June 23, 1985, Canadians experienced the most horrific act of terrorism in our history when a bomb on Air India Flight 182 killed all 329 passengers and crew members aboard, 280 of them Canadians.
“Today, we pay tribute to the memory of victims of this atrocity, and to those who have lost their lives in other acts of terrorism, including during the September 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S., and, recently, the Boston Marathon bombings and the terror attack in Woolwich, London.
“On this day, we also stand in solidarity with all families affected by terrorist acts, and honour the memory of civilians, soldiers, diplomats, international aid workers and journalists targeted by these hateful crimes.
“As we mark the National Day of Remembrance for victims of Terrorism, we are reminded that acts of terrorism continue to plague many regions in the world and constitute a serious threat both to democracy and fundamental rights and values.’’
The prime minister claimed that Canada has taken numerous steps in the fight against terrorism. “Canada has been in the forefront in combating terrorism abroad, most notably in Afghanistan where Canadian soldiers and diplomats continue to serve to prevent that country from again becoming a base for terrorism. At home, in 2011, we launched the Kanishka Project, a five-year national research undertaking to develop the information we need to frustrate terrorist conspiracies and keep Canadians safe. ‘’
He said, “Most recently, we passed the Combating Terrorism Act (Bill S-7) which will help disrupt plans and preparations for terrorist attacks and to investigate past acts of terrorism. Just last week, our government passed Bill S-9, which will allow Canada to take measures, as part of its commitments under international agreements, to prevent nuclear terrorism.’’
Even Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews said in a statement that although Canada has rarely been a target of terrorism, it is nevertheless a growing threat.
“Although we as Canadians rarely have to face this brutal reality, recent terrorist events and arrests demonstrate that terrorism poses a real threat to Canada and remains a global problem,” the minister said.
But the big question remains: who did it and why Canada failed to catch and hang the culprits?