Sunday, October 28, 2001 Back The Halifax Herald Limited

Fight terrorists by parking car, Anderson says

By Lisa Schmidt / The Canadian Press

Ottawa - Federal Environment Minister David Anderson said Canadians can help in the fight against terrorism right here at home every day - by driving less.

"Whenever asked what an individual can do to fight terrorism, the answer is very simple: drive less," he said in a speech Saturday.

In an address to delegates at a conference of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, Anderson said work is continuing on a federal government plan to improve automobile fuel efficiency.

"The events of last month have made this even more compelling," he said.

Reducing the country's reliance on oil imports from Middle Eastern countries would help reduce the risk of funds ending up in the hands of terrorist organizations such as Osama bin Laden's, Anderson said.

Bin Laden, a Saudi-born millionaire, and his al-Qaida network is blamed for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

"That wealth is basically petro dollars from the United States, from Western Europe, from ourselves, which through the system has wound up in the hands of his family and himself," he said after the speech.

"If the concern in the United States' mind is the link to Middle Eastern oil, we can reduce that very quickly . . . if, in fact, we have a serious approach to energy consumption in the United States and Canada."

Anderson said there's a link between the anger and fanaticism of the terrorist organizations and the despair and squalor of Third World countries where some of these terrorist movement are born.

A U.S.-led coalition of countries, including Canada, is currently engaged in a military response to terrorism, but Anderson expects that a year from now the world will seek opportunities for more fundamental change by examining the deeper causes.

Anderson, who is preparing for another round of climate-change talks in Morocco next month, said the U.S. government is moving ahead with its own plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, after pulling out of the Kyoto accord.

Although the U.S. is focusing much of its resources on security issues in the wake of the terrorist attacks, American officials recently assured Anderson the issue of climate change has not been sidelined, he said.

Copyright 2001 The Halifax Herald Limited