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Canada no haven for terrorists, CSIS head tells U.S.
Sheldon Alberts
CanWest News Service

CREDIT: Canadian Press
Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director Jim Judd (left) and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day prepare to appear at Commons public safety committee on Parliament Hill, Wednesday June 7, 2006.
WASHINGTON — The head of Canada’s spy agency on Thursday dismissed American suggestions that Canada is a haven for terrorists and a nation of lax immigration laws.

“We’re secure,” said Jim Judd, who did most of his talking in closed-door meetings with members of Congress and the Bush administration.

Two weeks after the arrests of 17 suspected terror plotters in Ontario, Judd and RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli led a high-level Canadian delegation on a public relations mission to Washington.

The lobbying blitz had been long planned by Ambassador Michael Wilson, but took on added urgency amid a burst of heated rhetoric from Republican lawmakers critical of Canadian law enforcement.

“I have been concerned since I've been in Washington that there has been a misunderstanding on a range of issues,” Wilson told reporters.

“There's some things that have been said in the media that have not been accurate and we wanted to address those head-on.”

In the wake of the Toronto arrests, Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo renewed calls for a fence along the Canada-U.S. border and New York Representative Peter King, chairman of the House homeland security committee, said Canada was home to a “disproportionate” number of al-Qaida members.

The Canadian delegation’s meetings included a session with Indiana Republican John Hostettler, who last week branded “South Toronto” a hotbed for Islamic extremists and accused Canada of having a “very different attitude than we do about terrorism.”

Wilson has said he hopes to bring CSIS and RCMP officials to Washington on regular “myth-busting” missions aimed at detailing the depth of co-operation between Canadian and U.S. officials on counterterrorism and border security efforts.

The Canadian delegation included Alain Jolicoeur, president of the Canada Border Services Agency, and Janice Charette, the deputy minister for Citizenship and Immigration.
© CanWest News Service 2006

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