For all the Canadians who think terrorists don’t target us, think again. Seems the police have had two alleged terrorists under investigation since August 2012. And a couple of days ago, April 22 to be precise, a special joint tax force of RCMP and CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) anti-terrorism units, in partnership with provincial and municipal police forces in Ontario and Quebec arrested them.
Thankfully, long before they could carry out their plot, which was still in the planning stage.
Thankfully, long before countless numbers of innocent people were killed and injured.
Their plan? To blow up a VIA passenger train in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). When? No one is saying. Why? No one is saying. But do terrorists really need a reason? And if and when they have one, does it make a difference? Does it, somehow, make it make sense?
Of course not.
Which train? Apparently it wasn’t a specific train they were after. It was a specific route. Although no details have been released, there is a rumour circulating it was between Toronto and New York City. But it has not been confirmed. Actually, it’s not been discussed at all.
Very little has been discussed. As is the Canadian way. Mum’s the word, north of the border. A sentiment I totally endorse. The less said the better, so as not to jeopardize the case, whenever it goes to court. For that matter, so as not to jeopardize an arrest, either.
So what have we been told?
One of the men was living in Montreal. The other in Toronto. Both were in this country illegally. And allegedly theirs was an Al Qaeda-supported plot. The almost year-long investigation has been carried out by Canadian law enforcement agencies, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The men have been charged with conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack and “conspiracy to murder persons unknown for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.”
All I care about is, they were stopped in their tracks. No pun intended.
This hits very close to home for me. I take VIA very often. It’s my preferred way to go to Montreal which, because I still have friends and family living there, I have done fairly often. There are many, many trains between these two destinations each day, but I always try to book the express, which takes just under four hours.
What I particularly like is, train stations are right downtown. There are some other stops in a couple of suburbs, but at least you have the option. There’s much less to-ing and fro-ing. So when you think about how long it takes to get to and from airports, the time spent going through security and the usual delays involved in flying, the train takes less time.
And it’s infinitely more pleasant.
Especially if you go VIA 1, which is first class. There’s no lining up. There’s a private lounge where you wait. Comfortable seating, complimentary beverages and WiFi, newspapers, magazines, TV. All the comforts of home. You get to board first. Sit in comfy seats. And get catered to, from the moment you board to the moment you leave. For a fraction of the cost of flying business class.
Complimentary cocktails. Your choice of three very good meals, served with complimentary wine or beer. Coffee or tea. More complimentary booze. They even come around with bonbons, served on a silver tray. Well, not sterling silver, but you get the point.
it’s very civilized.
A lot of folks must agree, because they carry about four million passengers each year.
No, I won’t be deterred from taking the train. But I’ll probably never be quite as relaxed about it as I used to be. For a while, if not forever, I’ll probably be on the look-out for anything I consider to be suspicious. People, packages, anything.
Welcome to our new reality.