Archive for category Canada

Industry Talk: Garda World Promoting Canadian Model For Airport Screening In The US

Garda estimates that the U.S. airport security clearance market is worth US$3.5 billion a year. The Montreal-based company hopes to gain its first U.S. airport contract within two years.

What I thought was startling was Garda’s numbers on how much this market is estimated to be worth. $3.5 billion a year is no small potatoes. No wonder they are lobbying the US to jump on board with private screeners at airports.

I imagine security companies in the US will be very much in the business of capturing market share as more and more airports opt for screener/security privatization. –Matt


Garda wants to convince Washington to adopt Canadian model for airport screening
By Sylvain Larocque
Garda World wants to convince Washington to imitate Canada by giving private security companies control of screening at airports.
In the United States, the job is generally performed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees, while in Canada the work is subcontracted to companies like Garda, the industry leader in airport pre-clearance screening.
At its annual meeting on Friday, Garda CEO Stephan Cretier criticized the TSA, pointing to a House of Representatives committee report published last November that concluded the federal agency was ineffective as at least 25,000 security breaches have taken place in the 10 years since it was launched.

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Company Spotlight: CEO Stephan Crétier Talks About Garda And Role In Middle East

This is cool. The CEO of Garda was interviewed recently and it is neat to hear about some of the inner workings of Garda and their strategy in the market.

From what he said, they are trying to become the Walmart of private security. Interesting, but I think G4S has them beat there. lol But still, I think what is really cool here is that Garda became successful despite being in a hard place to do business.  It sounds like Quebec is a tough town in that regard, and for a private security company to excel is really unique.

I also perked up on his comment about their entry into Iraq. Here is the quote:

Q: Why the Middle East, given that it’s so fraught with danger and potential PR disasters?
A: You’re right, but at the same time you can have a PR disaster at Toronto Pearson, you can have a PR disaster in the shooting of armoured trucks. We’ve been extremely selective. People say, well, you’re just another Blackwater. But companies like Blackwater and Triple Canopy work as subcontractors to the U.S. government and army. We don’t. We work for NGOs in dangerous areas—oil and gas companies, reconstruction companies. We don’t work in war zones. When Iraq was at war, we weren’t there. We were in Kurdistan. We came in with the reconstruction of Iraq. In Afghanistan we are working almost exclusively with NGOs. We’re very specific about the type of business we want to do. We could do the same business as Blackwater, but it’s not the kind of culture we are looking at.

Interesting comment, but I do not agree. There are just as many complexities and issues working the oil/gas/NGO/reconstruction angle, as there are with working for a government like the US. I think the reason why Garda is not getting into that arena is because the market is filled with US PSC/PMC providers that are ‘preferred’ by the US Government and army, and not because of the culture. So for that market, they simply cannot compete.

I see this comment as more of the same when it comes to bashing US companies in order to differentiate and ‘elevate’ their company.  To say we are not like them, when in fact you are exactly like them, is telling. You provide a protective service to clients, and your culture is no different than a US company culture. (do a search on Garda or GardaWorld and they have had their fair share of issues–so their ‘culture’ is not immune despite the clients they choose)

Also, working for an NGO in Afghanistan, is working in a war zone. I think that comment was a misstatement. And if they are doing any convoy work or motorcades from Kurdistan to the southern Iraq or central Iraq, then they are operating in a war zone. And of course, Kurdistan has not separated from Iraq…yet, so working in Iraq is still working in Iraq. lol

Cool interview regardless, and check it out below. –Matt


In conversation: Stephan Crétier of Garda
On becoming the Wal-mart of security, and what exactly Garda is doing in the middle east
by Martin Patriquin
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Stephan Crétier stumbled into the security industry in 1994. Five years later, with a $25,000 second mortgage on his home, he bought and radically revamped the Montreal-based security firm Garda, best known for its armoured trucks and pistol-packing guards. Today, the company is one of the largest of its kind in the world with revenues last year of over $1.1 billion. Roughly a year after moving into the fraught security industry in the Middle East, four employees of GardaWorld, Garda’s global security wing, and Peter Moore, the man they were protecting, were kidnapped in Baghdad. Only Moore survived.
Q: You were actually on track to become a baseball umpire. Why the career change?
A: I was doing some minor league baseball in the U.S. It was really a question of looking down the road and asking, “Am I going to make it?” It’s a long road, and at the same time your friends are out of university and getting real jobs. One day, I decided it was enough, and I went back to Montreal. I worked for a small mom-and-pop [security] operation, and after five years I decided to start my own. The rest is history.
Q: You acquired Garda in 1999. What were the dynamics of the security services industry at the time that led you to believe you could make a serious go of this thing?
A: When I started the business—I don’t want to insult anyone, but it was security people in business instead of business people in security. We had security people trying to build a police-type model. We tried to replicate a model that existed in Europe in the early ’70s. Those companies really accelerated their growth when Europe discovered terrorism; [Europe] needed the help of a more modern and professional private sector to help take care of national security.

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Industry Talk: Bruce Power’s ‘Private’ SWAT Team Wins US National SWAT Championship Four Times!

Yes, you heard that correctly. Bruce Power is a nuclear plant in Canada that is privately owned and operated, and they have a private security force protecting it. Within that private security force, they actually have a SWAT team to respond to all and any threats against that plant. That is an extremely important job and is of national interest to Canada that these private forces do a good job. So to me, this is another example of private security doing a vital job of protection.

This is not new and private forces protect nuclear facilities all over the world. If you look at the list of competing SWAT teams, there are quite a few ‘private’ SWAT teams competing. Which is great, and all of them are competing against State police and government forces.  I guess my point here is that private forces are perfectly capable of doing a good job and being the best at an activity we usually associate with government or state raised forces.

So bravo to Bruce Power and thanks to Kyle on Facebook for pointing this out. If anyone from Bruce Power SWAT would like to share  with us as to why they keep winning, we would love to hear from you?  I suspect they have excellent schools they attend, and they practice like world class athletes in order to win–or lots of hard work and a mastery of the fundamentals. Also, with these private SWAT teams, they might have more money and time to pursue training because they are not taken away for police duties like their state or government teams might be. But that is just speculation. Either way, Bruce Power SWAT is victorious! –Matt



Bruce Power team wins U.S. National SWAT Championship
26 Oct 2011
Bruce Power’s Nuclear Response Team has captured first prize at the 2011 U.S. National SWAT Championship in Tulsa, Okla.?This is the fourth year in a row Bruce Power has taken top prize at the competition which consists of eight tactical events that test fitness, weapons skills and team organization. Bruce Power finished first in six of those eight events which simulate real-life scenarios faced by tactical officers. Scoring is based on time and target hits and the events are conducted in full tactical gear in head-to-head stages.?“This team is a real credit to our company and have demonstrated great pride, dedication and integrity in winning this championship,” said Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

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Somalia: Vancouver-based Africa Oil Defies Al Shabab And Drills….With Pathfinder Corporation Protecting

In Somalia, Vancouver-based Africa Oil and partners Red Emperor Resources NL and Range Resources Ltd. hired South African security consultant Pathfinder Corp. to help protect their site. Local patrols are in place, and the regional government is providing added military strength, Hill said. Defenses include heaping dirt in a perimeter, or berm, around the site, to keep intruders out.

In the past I mentioned East Africa and the west’s positioning there in order to tap into oil sources. What is interesting is that more and more companies are willing to risk much in order to get at that oil, and PSC’s are getting some use.

This article in particular talks about a Canadian company trying to do just that in Somalia. From the sounds of it, they have a small private army and built up defenses to protect it. The PSC mentioned that is front and center for the defense of these wells is called Pathfinder Corporation.

I have never heard of Pathfinder Corporation and they are a South African company. They were registered in 1998 and the CEO is Marius Roos. Here is his bio:

Pathfinder is led by Marius Roos (Managing Director) who has a strong military background and currently holds the rank of Colonel in the SA Army Reserve Force. Apart from a distinguished career in the military, he has also qualified himself in various disciplines of security, which he utilised with good effect whilst employed in the private sector. Until recently he held the position of Risk Intelligence Specialist at one of the largest Parastatals in South Africa. In addition to numerous career-enhancing courses, Marius also successfully completed the Senior Managment Program with the University of Pretoria.

The thing about this story is that Al Shabab/Al Qaeda have joined forces recently and have declared that this oil drilling site is a ‘no-go’.

Al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a Mogadishu hotel that killed at least 15 last month, rejects the award of oil licenses to Western companies, Reuters said on Feb. 25, citing the group’s Twitter account.
“Western companies must be fully aware that all exploration rights and drilling contracts in N. Eastern Somalia are now permanently nullified,” a Twitter post claiming to be from Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen’s press office said that day. Africa Oil’s contracts are “non-binding,” it said.

So does this mean that Al Shabab (who recently officially teamed up with Al Qaeda) plan on attacking Africa Oil’s operation?  Who knows, and this could get very interesting for the guys working there. If any Pathfinder Corp. contractors would like to come up and speak about this deal, I would love to hear what you got. Good luck over there. –Matt


Vancouver-based Africa Oil defies Al-Qaeda in billion-barrel Somali well drill
By Eduard Gismatullin
March 5, 2012
In a Somali desert that’s home to al-Qaeda-linked militia, Africa Oil Corp. drills inside a fortress of excavated earth dotted with lookout towers and armed guards to satisfy a world thirstier than ever for crude.
The Canadian company is poised to complete the nation’s first oil well in at least 20 years. The prize is the more than 1 billion barrels of oil resources Africa Oil estimates is in the Dharoor Block in Puntland, a semi-autonomous northern region where the central government is battling Islamic extremists.
“Security costs are significant,” Chief Executive Officer Keith Hill said in an interview. Still, there aren’t “many places on Earth we can go onshore with contractors and try to find a possibility for a billion-barrel oil field.”
Oil prices that almost doubled in the past three years have spurred exploration in locations once considered too risky, with Genel Energy Plc, set up by U.K. financier Nathaniel Rothschild and former BP Plc CEO Tony Hayward, acquiring stakes in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP are returning to Libya after leader Muammar Qaddafi was deposed.

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Letter Of Marque: Privateer Days…..A Canadian Holiday

What I wanted to do here is show a little history that folks in the US were probably not aware of. Especially during our celebration of Independence Day. In this town in Canada, they still celebrate the authorization (Letter of Marque) by the British to attack American privateers. To them, American privateers and the Continental Navy were the enemy and this was that town’s solution and savior. The Americans were also pirates in their eyes, and they felt totally justified to use their legalized privateers to attack and defend against such an enemy. (the Continental Navy could take prizes as well)

But it also indicates the effectiveness of privateering back then. This type of warfare did extreme damage on British related commerce, and to anyone that was an ally of the British, and privateering was a means of attacking the enemy’s pocketbook. It also had a great impact on the logistics of the British war machine. This artificially created offense industry, authorized via the Letter of Marque and Reprisal, is an industry that certainly left it’s ‘Marque’. lol

Cool stuff and check it out. –Matt

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Cool Stuff: Angela Benedict–A Walk For The Troops 2010

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