Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale won’t describe last week’s stabbing in Flint, Michigan as a border security failure. Though the man accused is a Canadian citizen, Goodale told CTV News on Sunday that his U.S. counterparts have assured him that they are satisfied with current security measures in place on both sides of the border.
The attack came just weeks before the July 1 Canada Day celebration and the July 4 Independence Day holiday in the U.S. — always a time of heightened alert at U.S.-Canadian border crossings.
Goodale says he has consulted with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who has informed him that no additional security will be put in place.
“Just as the incident was unfolding, I had the opportunity to talk to Secretary Kelly just to make sure that our cross-border co-operation was full and complete,” he told CTV’s Question Period.
“He made it very clear that he had great confidence in the border operations on the Canadian side, just as we can have confidence in the operations on their side. And that the notion of thickening of the border was just not a part of their consideration.”
Goodale made the remarks just as top security officials are arriving in Ottawa to discuss terrorism, cyberattacks and counter-radicalization techniques. Kelly will be joined by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and security ministers from the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Together, the countries are known as “the Five Eyes” of security because they share intelligence.
Police arrested Amor Ftouhi of Montreal after a police officer was attacked with a knife and survived a foot-long gash across his neck. Ftouhi had entered the U.S. on July 16.
Describing the incident as a “lone wolf attack,” Goodale said it is always difficult to prevent such an attack because the assistant provides few clues of intentions.
“This was a character who was doing something for whatever purpose — we’ll investigate that and find out what the facts are — but it was not a failure in border security,” Goodale said.
The minister, who has been subject to considerable criticism from both the media and Conservative opposition for dismissing the threat of illegal refugees, reminded viewers that about 400,000 people cross the U.S.-Canada border each day. Goodale said the “Five Eyes” meetings over the next two days will explore a variety of potential security threats.
“There are cyber threats that affect all of the five-eyes countries from a variety of different sources. They can be government sources, they can be military sources. It can be Russia, it can be China, it can be Iran, it can be a whole variety,” he said.