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Missiles may guard nuclear facilities, Minister says
Defence, police officials look at ways to beef up security
Andrew McIntosh National Post OTTAWA - Ralph Goodale, the Natural Resources Minister, yesterday said the federal government is considering whether soldiers armed with surface-to-air missiles should guard Canada's nuclear facilities against terrorist attack.
"That is a dimension to this we obviously have under consideration," Mr. Goodale told reporters outside the Commons when asked if Canada would follow France, which has assigned soldiers with such missiles to guard its nuclear facilities since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Goodale's remarks came after Mohamed el Baradei, the head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said Thursday that an act of nuclear terrorism is now "far more likely" after three hijacked jets attacked the World Trade Center and the U.S. Pentagon.
Canada has seven nuclear power generating stations at five locations in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick as well as other smaller nuclear laboratories.
The Natural Resources Minister said Canadian defence, police and security and intelligence officials are now studying how to beef up security at the facilities and whether to also impose no-fly zones around them.
"That in itself, unfortunately, is no guarantee when you're dealing with what could be a suicide bomber," Mr. Goodale said. "Obviously, there were air space rules over Manhattan that were violated on the 11th of September."
"What it means is that we have to do everything we can do, that is humanly possible to be done to protect Canadians against these kinds of incidents," he said. "Quite frankly, could anyone give an absolute, sworn-on-the-Bible guarantee that nothing untoward could ever happen? That's unfortunately beyond human capacity," he added.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), November 03, 2001