“Solutions to border problems must involve officers”: National President addresses Standing Committee on Public Safety

February 29, 2024
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On Monday, February 26,  2024, the National President of the Customs and Immigration Union, Mark Weber, addressed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security as part of the Committee’s study on the growing problem of car thefts in Canada.

The issue of stolen vehicles being exported from the Port of Montreal has received much attention in the last months, with many solutions being proposed by political leaders. Yet, as the National President stressed in his opening remarks to the Committee,  “no effort was made to find out from the officers working on the frontline what was required to facilitate examinations” to help curb the issue.

“If anyone had asked the question, they would have been told that a lack of space is the primary factor impacting the volume of examinations performed at the Port of Montreal,” explained the National President to the Committee, highlighting that “this is yet another example of what the Customs and Immigration Union has been flagging for a long time: Solutions to border problems must involve the officers who perform the work on a daily basis. Once again, we are seeing solutions either proposed by people who have never done the work or adopted under the advisement of individuals who have never done the work.”

This is situation is truly unique within the realm of law enforcement. “Whereas senior officials in most law enforcement organizations have some level of frontline experience, that is not the case at CBSA” explained the National President. “The result is an unparalleled disconnect between the upper echelons and the frontline.”

The National President also discussed the dire need for more frontline officers, concluding that “investment in personnel — in people — is paramount. Even where personnel issues may not be the primary factor, the ability of the Agency to protect Canadians and adapt to new challenges rests on a properly staffed frontline.”

See selected clips below. A full recording of the Committee proceedings can be viewed here (with interpretation language options).

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