U.S. will determine who can board some Canadian flights
Starting in December, some passengers on Canadian airlines flying to, from or even over the United States without ever landing there, will only be allowed to board the aircraft once the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined they are not terrorists.
Secure Flight, the newest weapon in the U.S. war on terrorism, gives the United States unprecedented power over who can board planes that fly over U.S. airspace.
Secure Flight applies to flights to, from or over the United States, from Canada to another country. Flights between two Canadian cities, that travel over U.S. airspace, are excluded, but about 80 per cent of Canadian flights to the Caribbean and other southern points and to Europe fly over the U.S.
The program, which is set to take effect globally in December 2010, was created as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, adopted by U.S. Congress in 2004.
Parliament never adopted or even discussed the Secure Flight program — even though Secure Flight transfers the authority of screening passengers, and their personal information, from domestic airlines to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
When asked about the program, Transport Canada, the federal department in charge of Canadian airlines, deferred to Public Safety Canada.
After refusing to comment on Secure Flight or the federal government's position on the U.S. program, David Charbonneau, a Public Safety Canada spokesman, said "Canada works in partnership with the United States, as well as with other allies on aviation safety and security.