Canadian spies knew about bomb on Air India plane: Conservative MP Wai Young

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MP Wai Young
MP Wai Young
Conservative MP Wai Young

By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

Ottawa: A Conservative MP says Canada’s spy agency knew there was a bomb on the Air India plane that later exploded in midair, killing 329 people.

In a late June speech at a Vancouver church, Tory MP Wai Young said the laws at the time prevented the Canadian Security Intelligence Service from telling the RCMP about the explosive device in 1985.

Young told the service at Harvest City Church that, as a result, the Mounties could not remove the bomb from Air India Flight 182.

She said the government’s recently enacted Bill C-51 remedied the problem by allowing greater information-sharing between agencies.

However, the federal commission of inquiry into the Air India bombing did not conclude in its June 2010 report that CSIS knew there was a bomb on the plane.

Rather, it said government agencies had significant pieces of information that, taken together, would have led a competent analyst to conclude that Flight 182 was at high risk of being bombed by known Sikh terrorists in June 1985.

Young presented a different version of events to churchgoers.

“CSIS knew, or heard, that there was a bomb on board this plane,” Young said, adding “strict laws” prevented agencies from sharing information at the time.

“I don’t know if you guys know that. Because they couldn’t share that information with the RCMP, the RCMP could not act to take that bomb off that plane,” Young said.

“Today, with C-51, they will be able to share that information. It took 30 years for us to enact this law, so that departments can share information to protect you and me.”

In her June 30 speech, first reported by the leftist Press Progress blog, Young likened Bill C-51 and other criminal justice legislation to the way Jesus “served and acted to always do the right thing, not the most popular thing.”

CSIS had no immediate comment.

The office of Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney referred inquiries to Young’s office.

Asked if she stands by the Air India comments, Young sidestepped the question, saying the government passed C-51 because the threat of jihadi terrorism is real.

“That is why this legislation is so important and necessary. I will continue to work with our government to ensure that Canadian communities are strengthened and protected.”

© 2015 The Canadian Press