Today, following the conclusion of the 2023 Canada-United States Cross-Border Crime Forum, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti, along with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, announced a series of measures and agreements between the agencies in both countries, including CBSA, to increase cooperation and curb gun smuggling and other cross-border crimes. Amongst other points, the announcement highlighted the desire to reduce gun trafficking through increased joint investigations, sharing of intelligence, and tracing of illegal firearms.
The Customs and Immigration Union welcomes this renewed focus on cross-border cooperation by both governments to address the issue of gun smuggling into Canada. Absent from this announcement, however, is any real commitment to bolster Canada’s frontline and ensure our borders are properly staffed. Updating and modernizing legislation, prevention strategies, and agreements only make sense if accompanied by further investments into the border workforce. As it stands, the Canadian border is severely understaffed and poorly equipped to truly stem the flow of illegal goods, including firearms of all sorts. If this new era of renewed cooperation between the two countries is to have a real, lasting impact, it is crucial to properly support and empower our border services personnel tasked with protecting our communities.
It is also worth noting, once again, the complete absence of consultation with the union on these matters. CBSA’s upper echelons continue to be disconnected from the realities in the field, as virtually all upper management has little to no actual experience on the frontline. By not relying on the experience of frontline officers and other personnel, the Agency is wilfully ignoring precious insight into how to best approach —and solve — the issue of illegal firearms entering Canada.
Click here to watch the announcement on YouTube.