Air Indian bombing kin unhappy with Canadian Govt. compensation

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

OTTAWA - Relatives of those killed in the Air India flight 182 bombing of June 23, 1985, have expressed disappointment with the Canadian Government’s proposed compensation plan.

Most of them have said that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has failed to include clear pledges to act on the specific recommendations from June’s public inquiry report into the largest mass murder in Canadian history.

Representatives of the victims’ families noted that in addition to lacking clear policy pledges, Ottawa has yet to conclude negotiations toward financial compensation.

“It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Everyone’s a little upset right now,” said Rob Alexander, who was 15 when his father - Dr. Mathew Alexander - was killed in the bombing, which left 329 people dead, including 280 Canadians.

While Public Safety Minister Vic Toews criticized one of the commission’s main proposals - the creation of a national security czar - he insisted Ottawa would, in time, act on many of the other recommendations.

Calling it a “road map,” the government’s response to the June report by the commissioner, former Supreme Court justice John Major, outlines six broad themes where the government has acted and will go further to enhance Canada’s national security.

According to the Globe and Mail, the plan, however, is silent on many of the 64 recommendations made by Major in June this year.

The government is pledging to reform the criminal trial process to prevent long, drawn-out mega-trials, to change the witness protection program to make it better suited to terrorism cases, and strengthen authorities’ ability to stop money from being funnelled to terrorists.

It also plans improvements to co-operation between intelligence agencies, the way intelligence is gathered and disclosed in court, and aviation security.

The inquiry, which studied the events before and after the bombing but also focused on security gaps that continued decades later, concluded that Canada’s security agencies had a great deal of information before the bombing that should have led to greater vigilance.

The commissioner also said the investigation was hampered by a lack of co-operation between the RCMP and Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, a problem Mr. Major reported “is continuing to this day.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared the findings a “damning indictment” in June, and promised to respond positively to the recommendations, including the call for compensation.

Major also said Ottawa should report on which of the commission’s recommendations have been implemented, which have been rejected and which are subject to further study. (ANI)

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