Customs and Immigration Union (CIU)

Customs and Immigration Union (CIU)

January 10, 2007 09:00 ET

CEUDA Calls for Better Security at the Border

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 10, 2007) - Following three serious incidents at three separate border crossings in Quebec, Ontario and B.C. last week, the union representing Canada's Front-Line Border Service Officers has called on the Harper government to examine and remedy continuing security deficiencies at the Canada-US border.

"In the space of just a few days we have witnessed a person described by the RCMP as 'a danger to children' flee the border in BC without pursuit or apprehension.... learned, thanks to American authorities, of a man who attempted entry to Canada in Quebec with a concealed, fully loaded, AK47 with ready to go ammunition clips.... and confirmed a continuing, glaring security defect in information available to officers that jeopardizes their safety as well as that of Canadians." noted Customs Excise Union Douanes Accise (CEUDA) National President, Ron Moran.

The B.C. case took place on January 4th when, after being questioned at the primary inspection booth and being tolled to pull over for an examination, the American male suspected of harmful intent to children decided instead to bolt north and illegally entered Canada at the busy Peace Arch crossing. Current Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) policy forbids pursuit by Border Officers. Canada is one of the only countries in the world not to have a border patrol service. Officers called the Surrey detachment of the RCMP who were unable to locate the vehicle. The subject is now believed to have returned to the United States having never been intercepted by police.

"If this can and does happen at the busiest border crossing in Western Canada, it can obviously happen anywhere. Canadians, and Canadian kids, were apparently exposed to increased risk because we aren't allowed to do what any rational person would expect in these circumstances which is to pursue and apprehend such individuals when they so blatantly break our laws. Canadians deserve better than this." observed Moran.

In the second incident, American authorities revealed that on January 2nd they had discovered a concealed, fully loaded, AK47 in the vehicle of Adam Predin, a 31-year-old Serbian-born U.S. citizen from Phoenix who had just been denied entry to Canada by CBSA Officers at the Lacolle, Quebec border crossing. "We are tremendously grateful that the new Conservative government has recognized the dangers our members face and this case underscores the importance of moving forward with the arming of officers on a priority basis without anymore bureaucratic delay." stated Moran.

CEUDA has long identified the deficiency of security related information available to Front-Line Customs and Immigration Officers and recently called on Government to establish a seamless, comprehensive information and face recognition biometric identification system at points-of-entry.

Yet another incident took place in Ft. Erie, Ontario on December 30th when alert CBSA Officers discovered that the antiquated multiple information systems still in use were creating a scenario where known armed and dangerous individuals would be referred in for secondary examination without the proper warning to Officers. This practice directly contravenes the existing CBSA policy which requires officers, upon detection of armed and dangerous persons, to release such persons into Canada and thereafter call the police in the frequently forlorn hope of interception.

"Not having a border patrol and not being equipped to handle such persons creates an obvious danger to Canadians. The CBSA data systems are so inefficient that they can't even follow their own policies which further places the Officers' lives in peril. This is compelling proof that the new Government must take immediate corrective action such as we presented to Public Safety Minister Day last month in the CEUDA Secure Border Action Plan. It's time for action" concluded Moran.

For a copy of the CEUDA Secure Border Action Plan please check the CEUDA website at .

CEUDA is a component of the Public service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) which represents Canada's Front-Line Customs and Immigration Officers. CEUDA also represents Investigation, Intelligence, and Trade Customs Officers, Immigration Inland Enforcement and Hearings Officers as well as all support staff - all of whom work at the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA).

Contact Information

    Ron Moran
    National President