ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – A British Columbia school district is making 31 recommendations to improve security after a fatal stabbing last year at a secondary school in Abbotsford.A report by the Abbotsford School District says the lack of separation between a public library and a school library may pose a risk to students.It calls for some sort of physical barrier between the two libraries in Abbotsford, which is 70 kilometres east of Vancouver.The report examines a stabbing last November that killed one student and critically injured a second at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.Written by two officials with the district, it also urges a review of cellphone reception in all Abbotsford schools after the critically injured student took refuge in a locked computer lab but others inside could not call for help because the room had no phone, cell or intercom service.The officials say communication must be improved with third parties, such as the Fraser Valley Regional Library, whose operations can have an effect on operations at the school, noting that incidents at the library are not routinely reported to school officials.“School district staff have reported that public library patrons have been known to been found eating, sleeping and taking refuge from the outdoors in the library,” says the report, written by district secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuk and assistant-Supt. Angus MacKay.“It has also been reported that homeless shelters send their clients to the public library for free access to resources including Internet access.”They have called for an update by June 30, 2018, on progress related to the 31 recommendations.Police described the attack on the two girls in Grade 9 as random.The report says a man entered the school through the adjoining public library.Gabriel Klein, who was 21 at the time of his arrest and of no fixed address, was charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault in the death of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and the injuries to the second girl, who can’t be identified because of a publication ban.The report says no one could have anticipated or prepared for the stabbing. It praises staff and others at the school for their decisive response.“Without regard for their own personal safety, staff acted quickly, brought a violent attack to a stop, and immediately provided medical care to the wounded students.”It says staff members and some students are to be “commended for their exemplary actions, and serve as an inspiration to everyone in the Abbotsford School District.”
OTTAWA – Retired general and senator Romeo Dallaire says Canadians can’t just assume the U.S. will shoot down a missile heading towards Canada, and that it is time for this country to finally embrace continental missile defence.“Canada should join the ballistic missile defence program,” Dallaire said in an interview Thursday.“We currently cannot put a hand on our heart and say that it will be used to help us should something happen.”His comments come amid growing concerns that Canada could be caught in the middle of a conflict between the U.S. and North Korea, which has been showing off its growing nuclear and missile arsenal.The U.S. invited Canada to join its continental missile-shield system more than a decade ago, but then-prime minister Paul Martin opted against it in 2005 following an extremely divisive national debate.Since then, Canada has sat on the sidelines as the U.S. has spent more than $100 billion building a series of land- and sea-based interceptors that could stop the type of limited attack North Korea might launch.Ballistic missile defence has also been adopted by NATO allies in Europe and those in the Asia-Pacific region such as Australia and South Korea, leaving Canada as an outlier.That doesn’t mean Canada wouldn’t see a ballistic missile attack coming.Canadian and American militaries work side-by-side monitoring potential airborne threats through the North American Aerospace Command, or Norad.But any decision on whether to shoot down such a threat would rest solely with U.S. officials, who Dallaire noted have no legal obligation to react if the missile is heading toward Canada.Joining ballistic missile defence would not only create that obligation, Dallaire said, but also act as a deterrent should North Korea or any other country use Canada as a “proxy target” for the U.S.“Feeling that (the U.S.) would respond is quite different than having it somewhere on paper and being able to hold them accountable to respond should Canada be targeted,” Dallaire said.Dallaire acknowledged having his own doubts about missile defence when the issue was first raised, but he said the technology has improved significantly.And while critics have pointed to the cost of the system, Dallaire said such arguments overlook the potential technological and other industrial benefits participation in such a project would entail.“Budgets cannot be ignored and the Americans realize the budgetary limitations that we have and the scale of our financial investment in national defence,” he said.“But we’re talking security, we’re talking new capabilities, we’re talking about potential technological spinoffs and advances.”There had been questions over whether the current Liberal government planned to reverse that decision, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to close the door on the matter this week.The previous Conservative government was likewise unwilling to re-open the debate, despite having supported Canada’s participation in ballistic missile defence while in opposition.But Dallaire predicted the issue will resurface again in earnest when the U.S. and Canada begin discussions around upgrading Norad in the coming months and years to better defend North America.“It’s in that sort of exercise that I believe ballistic missile will come back,” he said.“So Norad, to upgrade and to modernize, looks at the threat, and ergo seeks operational capabilities to counter the threat. And so that falls into line.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.