Canadian Border Security: Call The Local Pub
From Hansard (Canadian Parliamentary debate) , June 28.
Mr. David Anderson (Cypress HillsÃ¢€”Grasslands, CPC): Mr. Speaker, last week I challenged the government on its plans to close five single-person RCMP detachments along a 100 mile stretch of the Canada-U.S. border. The government said it was a provincial issue. It is not anymore. Last weekend, someone ran the border near Val Marie, Saskatchewan. Because of chronic understaffing, the RCMP could not respond. Instead, they resorted to phoning the Val Marie bar and local residents to see if they had seen him.
Will the government admit that these closures are leaving our borders unprotected?
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Hon. Anne McLellan: Mr. Speaker, there are 71 million crossings in this country every year. Virtually every one of them stops legally at the border, either on our side or on the American side. In fact, these closings of single detachments are redeployments. They take place after consultation with the provinces involved. These redeployments ultimately lead to more effective policing.
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Mr. David Anderson (Cypress HillsÃ¢€”Grasslands, CPC): Mr. Speaker, let us get this straight. The government is going to allow the closure of these detachments. There will be no permanent RCMP presence along a 100 mile stretch of the border, with no officers stationed within 50 miles of the border. Is the government serious? Is it telling us that its new border security plan is to phone the local bar and ask if anyone has seen a stranger?
Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, redeployment of RCMP officers and closures of detachments are operational matters for the RCMP and they are done in consultation with the provinces involved. It is my understanding from the RCMP that the Attorney General for Saskatchewan has been consulted on these closures.
This is indeed true. The Saskatchewan government then decided to keep the news about the closures secret from the area residents.