The really troubling part of this is that these new scanning machines at Ottawa airport are in the hands of the Canadian Border Services Agency which has a rather troubling record.
You might remember the incident at the Thousand Islands border post where a CBSA agent found a very small amount of marijuana on a bus and then the staff strip-searched the entire group of U.S. students on the vehicle.
What was worse was that the Toronto Star found that higher-ups congratulated the staff for its diligence which was completely out of place and then developed a media strategy to deal with the incident if the media found out. The media found out.
Photo above: The Thousand Islands Bridge: Canadian Border Services Agency officials have gotten out of line there.
Police officers in private moments will tell you they think the training of CBSA agents is inadequate and that they wouldn’t trust them with firearms. In fact some don’t trust them at all.
What will CBSA do with the information gathered at the scanning kiosks?
I don’t trust them either.
When it comes to professionalism at the border, your agent finds that U.S. Customs is much better to deal with than the CBSA.
I had one instance at the Thousand Islands border post where I was paying about $7 duty when the official shouted “Gray” in a loud rude voice. I was the only non-CBSA person in the post. I politely suggested that he call me “Mr. Gray”. We all deserve respect as Canadians re-entering our country.
“Well Mr. Gray that woman over there is going to search your car.”
She gave it a cursory glance and seemed quite embarrassed by it all. It was a significant abuse of power and it happened about the same time the U.S. students were strip-searched. Lucky I didn’t get the same treatment.
I sent an email to the minister when I got home and the office said it reminded the officer that he should be polite to returning Canadians.
Now the CBSA goes forward with these scanning machines at Ottawa airport without obtaining the proper approvals.
Not surprising. The CBSA is a power unto itself and has developed an over-bearing and rude approach in its dealings. Perhaps the rules governing the CBSA are only suggestions in the minds of the agency. Who is at the border to monitor what these people are doing … right or wrong?
Now it flies in the face of privacy regulations.
Our local MPs should be looking into this and the minister in charge should be starting to implement a significant cultural change in the CBSA.
The agency has no right to abandon regulations and abuse its significant power.
We need an organization to oversee the CBSA and it needs real teeth.
And a smile and good manners might be in order as well.
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