False Positive at US Airport Sparks Trouble for Canadian

13 May, 2018, 09:53 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Federal minister shares story of security hassles at US airport due to his turban

The Minister of science of Canada Navdeep Baines reported about how airport officials in the US tried to remove his turban.

The devout Sikh, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development in the Trudeau cabinet and graduate of the University of Windsor Odette School of Business MBA program, had been in Windsor and Detroit in April 2017 attending a Great Lakes Economic Forum and was preparing to board a flight to Montreal.

A federal cabinet minister says he was subjected to a zealous security check at a USA airport past year, prompting Justin Trudeau's government to follow up with the Trump administration.

Bains said he initially went through a metal detector without any problem, but was then asked to go through an additional security procedure because of his turban. He said no and asked them to re-do the test.

Bains' office said once he showed the security official his diplomatic credentials, he ultimately did not have to remove his turban.

"It was an uncomfortable experience", said Bains.

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"I think it's quiet unfortunate that somebody so high profile who holds a responsible position In Canada would be subjected to such screening and would be asked to remove their turban". Then he asked for my name and identification.

He said security agents at a Detroit airport were "very insistent and very difficult" when he told them he did not want to remove his turban. "But once you find out my diplomatic status, you say everything is fine". TSA does this to ensure that prohibited items or weapons are not concealed beneath any type of clothing and brought onto an aircraft.

Bains added that he has traveled to the US on many occasions and he has never been asked to remove his turban before. In 2016, Aeromexico refused to allow the American Sikh actor Waris Ahluwalia to board a flight from Mexico City to NY because he was wearing a turban. He told the security personnel that he had cleared the security checks and the turban was not a threat.

The security agent ran the swab test again, and when it did not detect anything, he was allowed to proceed to his boarding gate. USA authorities also ordered Detroit airport security staff to undergo further training.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that she felt it was important to voice Ottawa's concerns about the way Bains was treated in order to "support all Canadians travelling across the border". "This policy covers all headwear and is not directed at any one particular item or group".

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