Transport Canada Backpedals from Book Ban

Transport Canada has backpedaled from a security statement issued after Christmas that appeared to exclude books and magazines from being taken aboard US-bound planes. From The Globe and Mail:

Canadian travelers flying into the U.S. can take whatever books and magazines they want through airport security.

A spokesman for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority said today that “books and magazines were always allowed and still are on U.S.-bound planes.” Books and magazines, however, weren’t included in a list of 13 “items” that Transport Canada approved Dec. 28 for carry-on purposes.

Except, of course, that they weren’t. As I said in a comment to the piece that ran in this space a few days ago, I always figured the “book ban” was a bit of red tape that ran amok. (One of those bureaucratic “oops” that later gets amended by an “oh well.” Which is pretty much what happened. The Globe piece concludes:

Transport Canada issued an “update” on its security measures Monday afternoon this week, but the list of approved items remained at 13, with no addition of books and magazines. The Air Transport Security Authority official indicated today that “a revised list that will be more specific” was in the works from Transport Canada but a media officer with Transport Canada would only say “there might be” a revised or new list.

Regardless, “books would never be refused.” she said. “They can be easily scanned.”

Except, of course, that they were refused at some airports, with reports of such refusals coming in via a Facebook group as recently as yesterday. Things should be better today, though, as CanWest News Service reports:

Transport Canada spokeswoman Melanie Quesnel said passengers in Canada heading to the U.S. “can bring books on planes” and screening officers have been advised to allow that.

Upshot: as expected, there never was an actual “ban” on books on flights bound to the United States from Canada, though there does appear to have been a temporary misplacement of intelligence.

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1 Comment

  1. Good way to put it: "there does appear to have been a temporary misplacement of intelligence."

    Now, do you think that all those scanners etc. are going to make keeping track of intelligence any easier?


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