Customs and Immigration Union (CIU)

Customs and Immigration Union (CIU)

March 22, 2005 07:31 ET

1,600 Vehicles Blew By Customs in 2004: CBSA; Customs Excise Union Calls for Border Patrol



MARCH 22, 2005 - 07:31 ET

1,600 Vehicles Blew By Customs in 2004: CBSA; Customs
Excise Union Calls for Border Patrol

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2005) - There is a huge border
security crisis in Canada. While 1,600 vehicles blew by ports last year
and failed to report to Customs, more than 3,000 entered Canada
illegally via just 2 of more than 200 unguarded roads.

Ron Moran, National President of the Customs Excise Union Douanes
Accise, representing 10,500 members, more than 5,000 of whom are Customs
Officers that include uniformed Officers working on the front-lines, as
well as the Investigation, Intelligence, and Trade Customs Officers,
says, "Without a border patrol and because police are strained enforcing
security away from the border, we have no way of intercepting those
vehicles or checking their passengers and what they're bringing into
Canada. That is completely unacceptable."

The closure of RCMP Detachments along the border in Ontario during the
late 1990's and in southern Quebec in fall 2004 exacerbated this crisis.

CEUDA endorses the position of municipalities that grow ops and the
cannabis trade are adding an additional layer of challenges to this
crisis in that exporting cannabis across our border should be as much a
concern for Canadians as it is for Americans who are dealing with its

In her Feb 1, 2005, testimony to the House of Commons Sub-Committee on
Public Safety and National Security, Deputy Prime Minister Ann McLellan
said a mere 18 vehicles were known to have blown the Lacolle border in
one year, meaning their drivers did not stop to report to Customs but
rather chose to proceed into the country illegally. In reality, our
members counted no less than 17 vehicles during a three (3) week period
in the month of December 2004 alone at this border crossing. At five
(5) British Columbia border crossings, using another example, 26
vehicles blew by the ports without stopping during the week of February
7, 2005. Officials at the City of Stanstead, Quebec, inform us that the
count is consistently well over 250 unidentified vehicles illegally
entering Canada each month by using two (2) unguarded roads, namely
Leeball & Church Roads.

RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli told members of the House of Commons
Justice Committee on Dec 9, 2004, that, while the RCMP has the mandate
to patrol the border between ports of entry, the RCMP does not have
enough resources to keep Detachments open and actively patrol the border
in Quebec (or anywhere else). In Quebec and Ontario, neither the Quebec
Provincial Police nor the Ontario Provincial Police have the mandate or
jurisdiction to enforce border security and have in fact pulled
resources away from the border. Mayors from Quebec southern border
municipalities testified to this Committee about how they are facing
serious problems related to border crime with no ability or resources to
deal with them; we have no doubt other border Mayors from across Canada
will echo that very same sentiment and we are in the progress of
canvassing them all.

Echoing concerns expressed by many mayors along the border, Moran says,
"Canada needs eyes and ears on the ground - on the front-line; we need
people talking to the locals, learning about the routes used by people
smugglers and drug traffickers, monitoring activities, and establishing
and maintaining a presence, which - all told - amount to nothing less
than creating a very strong deterrent."

The Customs Excise Union Douanes Accise is calling for a Canadian Border

"From our perspective and while we continue to object to CBSA's 'working
alone policy'," Moran adds, "a Border Patrol would go a long way in
providing available backup and support for the 139 locations identified
by CBSA along Canada's border where Canadian Customs Officers are
working alone.

Such a Patrol would also go a long way to ensuring unguarded roads are
monitored without predictability, which would be an extremely strong
deterrent against the criminal elements that use these roads with
flagrant, wanton disregard for the law."

Even Commissioner Zaccardelli recognized the importance of having a
presence at the border when he appeared before the House of Commons
Justice Committee on Dec 9. "You have to have a presence," he said on
two occasions. His decisions, unfortunately, have run contradictory to
this mantra since he chose to leverage resources away from the border by
closing Detachments and centralize them in larger urban centres.

Moran declares, "It's time Canada stopped ignoring its duty and
responsibility to protect the Canada/U.S. border. We must stop
depending on Americans to provide our border security. It's our border;
we must therefore play a real, meaningful part. We have an obligation
to do so."

It is CEUDA's intention to appear before the Senate Committee on
National Defence and Security once it begins studying Bill C-26, which
creates the Canada Border Services Agency, identifies its mandate and
delineates its authorities. CEUDA will seek the Committee's support to
amend Bill C-26 in a view to broaden CBSA's mandate so that it becomes
responsible to enforce the border with a Border Patrol between ports of

Moran closes with, "Given the strong interest Senator Colin Kenny and
his Committee have held on matters of national and border security since
9/11 and the many related reports they've issued, we're hopeful his
Committee will exercise that sober second thought and support our
request to amend C-26."


Contact Information

    Ron Moran
    National President
    (613) 677-1090 (cell)
    (613) 723-8008 (office)
    Jean-Pierre Fortin
    3rd National Vice-President
    (450) 357-6684 (cell)
    Erik Lupien
    Communications and Political Coordination
    (613) 723-8008 (office)