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Ottawa stepping up security at U.S. border in wake of Boston bombing

A Massachusetts State Police officer stands guard at the scene after explosions reportedly interrupted the running of the 117th Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts April 15, 2013.

DOMINICK REUTER/Reuters

Canadian security agencies are working with the Americans as they probe the Boston bombings and Ottawa has stepped up security at the Canada-U.S. border in the wake of the attacks, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said.

"Our security agencies are working very closely with the Americans and I anticipate I will be in touch with some of the American authorities directly," Mr. Toews told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

The Conservative cabinet minister declined to elaborate on how Canadian officials are collaborating with the United States and whether co-operation included CSIS, Canada's spy agency, the RCMP, or the electronic-eavesdropping Communications Security Establishment.

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"This presently is a criminal investigation in the United States and appropriate Canadian counterparts are working with them," he said.

"If there is any help we can provide to the Americans, we will provide it."

The public safety minister said he has no information bombing suspects or the motives for the attacks that have killed at least three and injured scores more.

Mr. Toews, who offered his deepest sympathies to the Boston victims and their families, said Canadian officials are in a "heightened state of vigilance" at border crossings right now.

He said he does not believe Canadians need to worry about increased risks at home. "I don't think there's any need for Canadians to worry as a result of this specific incident but we do need to take precautions."

Mr. Toews said, however, that he believes Canadians need to be aware that "there are people out there who do not share our values and work to undermine our institutions."

The minister, who's warned before of the risk of home-grown terrorism, repeated his regular invitation for immigrant communities to offer the government information on threats they might encounter.

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"We are very concerned about this type of domestic violence – whether it originates outside our country or is developed inside Canada," Mr. Toews said.

"We want to work with anyone who has information in that respect so that not only can they protect their own communities but also Canada as a whole," he said.

"We also call on communities to be vigilant: where there are individuals who may be working contrary to our national interest, [we ask] that they share that information with appropriate authorities."

Staff at the Canadian consulate-general in Boston have fielded more than 500 calls since the blasts – most from people trying to find Canadians who might have been affected.

But so far, they've not had any reports of Canadians being injured, officials with the foreign affairs department said.

They said the staff at the Boston consulate have been in close touch with the U.S. State Department, local authorities, police, and Boston area hospitals. Two more Canadian consular officers have been sent from Ottawa to help, government officials said.

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Part of the task has been helping Canadians retrieve luggage and belongings from hotels that have been under lockdown since Monday's bombings.

With files from Campbell Clark

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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