Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Canadian Border Guards and Guns.

Most Canadians will agree that in Canada, gun ownership should remain to be a priviledge, not a right. Most Canadians agree, that effective gun control is a must. (effective the key word here. The gun registry is not effective and we all know it.) Most Canadians agree that we don't buy guns for self defense against other people.

However.........Most Canadians do not agree on whether or not, Canadian Border guards should be allowed to carry a side arm. For our American friends that read this post, let me explain to you who legally carries a side arm in public in our Nation. Some armoured car operators have permits. These people usually are former police officers. Police officers, military and Justice sheriffs (they work for the courts). Security firms, border guards, commissionares, etc. do not carry side arms. You won't find a gun behind the counter at a convenience store, and a loaded firearm in a vehicle is strictly forbidden. In fact, leaning a loaded rifle against the hood of your truck while in the bush deer hunting is considered a loaded firearm in a vehicle and can get you in big trouble if Natural Resources find you. Natural resources, by the way, have firearms in their vehicle, but I have never seen one with a side arm. Same goes for Provincial and Federal Park Patrol.

So why is this a big deal, if so few officers, civil servants, general public carry side arms? Canadian Border patrol are seen by many as the tax collector. Welcome to Canada, open your bags, show what you bought and pay your Canadian taxes on it. Welcome to Canada. Well, I think we should give them side arms.... On occasion, these people are all that stands between a dangerous fugitive in a foreign country and a dangerous fugitive in our country. I'd rather keep that dangerous fugitive out.

CBC news posted this article today. Murder suspects from California tried fleeing into Canada via the Peace Arch Border south of Vancouver, B.C. Following a shootout, they made it within a metre to Canadian soil, before being captured by police; American Police....

Where were the Canadian border guards you ask? They invoked the "Right to Refuse" clause as stated section 128 of the Canada Labour Code and walked off the job!

My take on this scenario is simple. Border guards need to be reclassified. They should be re-classified to make their job listed as potentially dangerous, and offered special training and the tools to perform their duty. This would mean police style training, access to firearms, and most importantly, they would be excluded from section 128 of the Canada Labour Code, since the right to refuse can not be invoked if,

(a) the refusal puts the life, health or safety of another person directly in danger; or

(b) the danger referred to in subsection (1) is a normal condition of employment.

In this case point B would apply.

Had these events unfolded differently. If that suspect car made it 100 metres further, if the shootout resulted in stray bullets striking a child, if... if... if.... I'm glad it didn't go to those scenarios but then we could at least say, "Our Border guards were equipped and prepared to deal with the situation, and handled it as best as possible." Had those if's happened under current structure all we could say is, "Well What can you expect, would you stare down the barrel, or would you refuse and walk off the job too?"

I don't know about you, I don't eat a meal with toothpicks, I don't wear sandals at -30 and I sure as hell wouldn't want to be asked to show up at a gun fight with a rubberband and a stick, and I think it's unfair that we ask it of them also.

I am not an expert in the field, these are just my opinions.
Please leave your comments. I know many will not agree, and I'd like to see some comments.

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