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CBSA Inland Enforcement and the BCCLA

Blog posts are the work of individual contributors, reflecting their thoughts, opinions and research.

Dominion Stories

During the Olympics, the BCCLA had run ins with everyone. After the 2010 Heart Attack, it appeared that they had absolutely no one in their corner. After David Eby denounced the Heart Attack action, many people decided that Eby and the BCCLA Legal Observers were enemies, albeit a lesser threat than the VPD and the RCMP.

What people missed, however, was the fact that the Legal Observers were dealing with then presence of CBSA Inland Enforcement throughout the Olympics. And while many people considered them to be working with the police to put the Anti-Olympic activists into jail, the police and the CBSA considered the Legal Observers a pest or worse.

During the Olympics, the CBSA Inland Enforcement were walking the beat with the Vancouver Police Department looking for people they deemed illegal throughout the DTES. One night, on February 15, 2010, they decided to enter the W2 Media Space. They were first allowed in because W2 was a Cultural Olympiad venue, and since they collaborated with the IOC, the police obviously thought that W2 was friendly, and that they would be welcome. I can definitely understand their logic, since W2 did collaborate and prove that money was more important than any principles that they claim to uphold. However, since W2 also hosted the neutral BCCLA Legal Observers, Irwin Oostindie and others were very irate that CBSA were present and CBSA was asked to leave.

I decided to request the documents of this incident because I was interested to see how this played out, since this appeared to be extremely heavy handed of the CBSA to try to gain access to what many considered to be collaborators with the police. When you look back at the materials online about the Olympics, this sticks out like a sore thumb because of the timeline, as well as who were involved. It turns out, however, that after the incident, Eby filed an inquiry with the CBSA president, and Ottawa investigated why the CBSA were walking the beat, and reiterated that then CBSA does not have the mandate to walk a beat, and instead should have been in their offices collaborating with the police over the phone.

The back and forth afterwards is very interesting, since it seems that the CBSA is very interested in saving their non-existent reputation and went to some lengths to get their story straight about the activities of Inland Enforcement. It's extremely interesting to find out about the activities of the CBSA because of their complete lack of reputation in the public eye, other than the occasional reference to how they break up families. The videos taken by the 2010 Legal Observers and the documents here help make a more complete picture.

  • CBSA_W2_1.PDF - SHA1SUM: a3014bc4ee7782465c8284f0b63c0d3a9a438cae
  • CBSA_W2_2.PDF - SHA1SUM: 072b3bce11fff63e0b8e58c52caee4a286b5ea1f
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Comments

Interesting - do you think

Interesting - do you think this is just a story of some knuckle-rapping, or is there a deeper story in this about CBSA overstepping their mandate, trying to intimidate legal observers and possibly take unlawful action (if their mandate is to not patrol but rather collaborate from their offices...)

Sadly, they do have the mandate

They don't normally walk a beat, but they are known for doing other police actions like raiding homes and going into places like Women's Shelters to get people who they deem illegal.  The CBSA is interesting since they have even less oversight than the RCMP and almost zero training.  They also conduct intelligence operations with CSIS, and Immigration Officers keep files on Canadians and Foreign Nationals alike.  I don't think this report is nearly as interesting as the other files I found on the CBSA.

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