MASSE IN THE HOUSE: CBSA Cuts
November 27th, 2012 - 1:02pm
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise again on border issues, as I have many times.
I first want to thank a constituent of mine, Richard Ruston, from the People First movement, who gave me this nice lapel pin that represents working on behalf of persons with intellectual disabilities and advocating.
To move to the subject matter at hand, I rose in the Chamber in September to talk about the issues at Canadian Border Services Agency and a memorandum that was issued to CBSA officials to stand down when they find U.S. outbound drugs at the border.
It is a very serious issue because, as we have seen over a period of time, there have been budget cuts to border services. In fact, there have been 325 positions identified for cuts where the government has asked the union for 325 volunteers to abandon their posts and retire or leave. What is going to happen is there will not be the people or the capacity to actually replace those jobs. Those jobs are now gone, so there will be less people, men and women of service, who do an able job, especially given the circumstances. Most recently we had a tragic shooting of an officer, who was actually from the London area. We are saddened to see that situation. It is a very serious job.
The government has removed the detector dog program, which was very influential in catching criminals who are trying to bring in drugs, guns and other types of contraband.
This memorandum is a slap in the face to our officers. It comes about because of cuts to agents and intel that is not properly gathered anymore. The government now wants to just allow it to go to the United States.
The problem with that strategy is a couple of major issues that the government needs to account for. Often, those drugs go into the United States and either become cash, other hard drugs, or they become guns or other contraband that are then attempted to be returned into Canada. Therefore, with this prevention strategy, working to actually find drugs that are exiting the country, it actually lowers crime in Canada because it prevents criminal organizations and others from getting resources that they use for other criminal activity.
Also, I have talked to a number of different American counterparts, be it elected officials, business or social interests, who are very concerned with the fact that Canadians are taking this away. They are very concerned about their people being exposed to additional Canadian manufactured drugs, or drugs that have come into Canada and then gone elsewhere into the United States, affecting their livelihood and their wellbeing. It creates addiction problems, social problems, workplace problems and increases in organized crime as well.
It is a black eye for our country to abandon our number one trading partner from attempting to find that type of contraband and preventing it from going over the border. We can do better.
Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, that is unbelievable. First of all, I am going to clear up something that shows just how misinformed this member is on this subject and probably many others.
The member said that I voted against arming the border guards. In fact, it was a campaign that I worked on with Stockwell Day in voting for that. I was awarded a CBSA jacket along with Stockwell Day and the member for Windsor—Tecumseh. There is actually a public record of that. It was the NDP that approached the Conservatives to actually get that done. If the member does not even know that, what else does he not know?
I am amazed. There was a memorandum that was issued about this action from the department. The evidence is there and it is clear.
I hope the member gets up and apologizes and stops making things up in this chamber. What else are you making up?