Canada fertilizer sellers seek anti-terror fund

23 May 2008 22:52  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Canada’s largest trade association for fertilizer retailers on Friday called on Parliament to subsidise security at stores that sell certain chemicals, citing similar federal support for anti-terrorism efforts at the nation’s ports.

David MacKay, executive director of the 1,000-member Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers, said as much as C$50m ($50m) might be needed to equip plants and retailers with fencing, locks, lighting, signage and personnel training.

Because many facilities already have those features in place, MacKay said his constituents would be happy with C$25m in security subsidies.

“They have complete control and can basically steer it to whatever number they want, we just want some resources,” MacKay said.

Ammonium nitrate was a prime component in Timothy McVeigh’s bomb that killed 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995, which was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil until 11 September 2001.

In 2006, 17 Canadian men were arrested after allegedly attaining around 3 tonnes of ammonium nitrate with plans to detonate bombs at many targets in Southern Ontario.

MacKay said the Canadian government should foot at least part of the bill for securing the nation’s fertilizers, and said that many of the new security measures at the country’s ports are paid for by federal rebates.

While the subject has been a matter of discussion for at least the past two years, MacKay said the government hasn't provided the funding his group wants.

In 2006, Canadian officials launched the Marine Security Contribution Program, a C$115m endeavour designed to help ports pay for anti-terrorism precautions.

“They seem to be telling us, ‘If it’s a regulation or best practice, we don’t compensate the industry for staying in compliance with regulation,’” MacKay said.

($1 = C$0.99)

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By: David Rosen

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