RM Issue #040322
Canada could be next: Cellucci Thu, March 18, 2004
LONDON, ONT. -- Canada must stand with the United States to fight terrorism, says U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci. Montreal, Toronto or Windsor could be targeted like Madrid, Cellucci warned an audience of about 300 at the University of Western Ontario yesterday.
The terrorist attack last week in Madrid, where train bombs killed 201 people, he said, "is a sobering reminder ... no one is immune from these attacks and everyone should be vigilant and stand on guard."
Cellucci said his country is "in prevention mode. We are doing everything in our power to prevent the next attack ... We cannot defend ourselves without Canada's help.
"The probability of further attacks is real. We need a strong Canadian military to help us defend North America and defeat terrorism around the globe."
Cellucci said any use of powerful weapons against American cities could also spread death to Canadian cities near the border.
He praised Canada for sending forces to Afghanistan, helping train Iraqi police and giving $300 million to help stabilize Iraq.
But when it comes to terrorism, ordinary Canadians aren't as concerned as they should be, he said.
The RCMP, CSIS and the military "get it" about terrorism, but the Canadian public has been less concerned, Cellucci said.
"Defeating the terrorist threat" is the biggest challenge in Canada- U.S. relations, he said.
Another attack on North America, he warned, would be "catastrophic economically" but also seriously undermine our ability to live and roam about freely.
Cellucci said when he was briefed by U.S. officials before coming to Canada in 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell urged him to persuade Canada to spend more money on defence.
The ambassador said he's been doing that and he takes heart from recent moves by Prime Minister Paul Martin, who has asked for a review of defence policy.