Freedoms under attack

History shows threat of terrorism overblown, argues Terrace resident

Dear Sir,

The federal government is working very hard right now to ensure we as a country are frightened of terrorists enough so that we will not mind surrendering our privacy and civil rights.

How real is the threat of terrorism in Canada? Real enough as it turns out, but does the actual level of risk to Canadians as individuals warrant our submission to continuous surveillance and allowing the federal government to violate our Constitutional rights “legally”?

I chose to look at terrorism in Canada over the last 30 years, using 1985 as my cut-off date. There have actually been a surprising number of terrorist attacks in Canada during that time. These have included bombings of legislative buildings in PEI, pipelines in the Peace, fire bombings of Jewish schools, etc.

Also in 1985 a group of Armenians stormed the Turkish embassy in Ottawa, killing one security guard. Newspaper editor Tara Singh Hayer was shot and paralyzed in 1986 in what Peter MacKay would not describe as a terrorist attack. Hayer was finally assassinated in 1998.

In 2012 an assassination attempt was made against Pauline Marois after the PQ won the Quebec election. Marois was not injured but one man was killed.

In the fall of 2014 two Canadian soldiers were killed in separate incidents.

The major event in 1985 of course was the bombing of Air India Flight 182, which took the lives of 268 Canadians. (This was the event that also led to Hayer’s assassination.)

That puts my tally of Canadians killed by terrorism in Canada over the last 30 years at a little less than 300.

I am sure there were other Canadians affected by terrorist acts in Canada in the last 30 years. So lets just double the number and call the terrorist death toll 600 over the last 30 years.

These are terribly tragic events that are usually indiscriminate. Usually the victims never see it coming. I do not wish to make light of the anguish of individuals and families that are affected in this way, but I want to try to bring a different perspective to these numbers.

If in the last 30 years Canada has seen 600 terrorist related deaths, in that same period of time 3,100 people (mostly Canadian) have won the 649 jackpot.

My math isn’t the best but it seems to me when we’re talking about random issues that a Canadian is 5 times more likely to win the 649 jackpot than be killed by a terrorist.

Keep that in mind when the Conservative candidate at your door is trying to explain to you why it was necessary to throw out the constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect you.

Dave Menzies,

Terrace, B.C.