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'Baby steps' to US agents on Canadian soil: RCMP


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Budget bill they say....

http://embassymag.ca/page/view/crossborder-05-16-2012

The RCMP is planning to ease Canadians into the idea of United States law enforcement agents pursuing suspects across the land border and onto Canadian soil through "baby steps," say two top Mounties.

"We recognized early that this approach would raise concerns about sovereignty, of privacy, and civil liberties of Canadians," RCMP Chief Superintendent Joe Oliver, the Mounties' director general for border integrity, told the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence on May 14.

"We said 'Let's take baby steps, let's start with two agencies to test the concept, let's demonstrate to Canadians and Americans that such an approach might work."

Mike Cabana, RCMP deputy commissioner for federal policing, also used the metaphor for an incremental approach in comments he made just before Mr. Oliver's.

"First of all, the discussion started with respect to marine environments. And secondly, baby steps," he said. A marine-based version "was seen as probably the most logical place to start to explore the possibilities."

Both officials were responding to a question by Conservative Senator Don Plett, who hails from Manitoba, as to why the Mounties hadn't gone further with Shiprider—the colloquial term for Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations.

That program will make it permanently legal for United States agents to be certified as police in Canadian waters. It is on track to be passed into law by the majority Harper government as part of its budget bill, C-38, in the form of amendments to the RCMP Act, the Criminal Code, and the Customs Act.

The plan to roll out cross-border policing over land is to start this summer, according to the Canada-US perimeter security plan.

The RCMP has told Embassy this land-based program could give US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration agents the ability to pursue suspects on Canadian soil.

Embassy has also revealed that the government is not ruling out that aerial police surveillance over land will occur as a result of the current amendments.

As a result, opposition members and academic observers raised several questions around national jurisdiction and police accountability.

But both Public Safety Canada and the RCMP say they are sensitive to these concerns and that Canadian law will remain supreme.

The Mounties say they need the legislation. Criminals, said Mr. Oliver, are "exploiting the fact that we have to respect our boundaries and we have to stop at the border."

"We've had instances where we've engaged in the attempts to interdict vessels in our shared waterways, and the vessel has fled into the other territory and has escaped apprehension," he said.

Mr. Oliver also revealed that while it is often seen in the context of national security, cross-border policing is typically used to pursue organized crime.

Canadian and US agents are consistently focused on the terrorist threat as the "number one priority," he said, but "the reality is that during our day-to-day interactions, the most prevalent threat that we encounter is organized crime, criminal entrepreneurs."

Costs revealed

The RCMP has invested $3 million since 2005 on pilot projects, training, and getting four standardized Shiprider vessels, said Mr. Oliver.

The RCMP has roughly 400 boats, smaller vessels that are often deployed in contract policing or federal policing, he said. But for Shiprider, the program is now moving to a standard vessel so officers can quickly find equipment.

Around 140 Canadian and US cross-border officers have been trained so far, say the officials, at the US Federal Law Enforcement Training Center site in Charleston, South Carolina.

This year there are three classes of 28 people. They said the training is continually modified based on lessons learned in the field.

Each of the training courses cost the RCMP around $75,000. The Mounties pay for the accommodation and travel of officers, but the US pays for the courses.

The two officials noted that entrenching Shiprider into law didn't necessarily mean they would have to go to the federal government and ask for more money—the desire was more about a legal tool to use at events.

"Even in the absence of dedicated resources, there will be things like the Olympics, like the G20. Well, this will provide us an effective legislative tool in our toolbox that we can deploy on an as-needed basis," said Mr. Oliver.

Partial data-sharing in place

The Mounties do not yet have a single computer network that allows all law enforcement and government agencies to share information in real time, said Mr. Cabana.

The closest, he said, is ASIS, an organization that networks different security professionals. It has eight chapters in Canada: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, the Prairies, the Pacific, and Southwestern Ontario.

There are other initiatives, he added, such as Canada's Marine Security Operation Centres, which vacuums up and consolidates information from different marine environments. American agents are located at a site in the Niagara region, he said.

"There are processes and protocols that have been implemented...out of concern to ensure the privacy and security of Canadians and to make sure that the information that exists, Canadian information, is properly maintained and properly shared."

An RCMP intelligence analyst is also located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Detroit, said Mr. Oliver.

There are also the annual threat assessments from the Integrated Border Enforcement Team, which draw input from the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP, the US Coast Guard, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the US Customs and Border Protection

ALTERNATIVE (sub free) LINK: http://canadianawareness.org/2012/05/baby-steps-to-us-agents-on-canadian-soil-rcmp/

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Agreed. I read the entire bill the other week. I really hope others are or will as well. The amount of shit being effected is monstrous.

http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=3293341&Language=E&Mode=1

Disgusting.

I was also very disappointed after watching the announcement regarding EI today and no reporter/person questioned Finley about the new EI rules and it's effect on union trades workers. Like if we will be forced to break our union agreements to be eligible for EI. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be part of the NDPs concerns either.

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I haven't been in the employ of the NDP since January, so I can't really comment on what they are currently doing, I know as much as anyone else now that I'm a civilian.

I think they are carefully looking at how they are perceived in terms of how they are fighting for the unions these days.

I'm very pro-union and would like the NDP to keep their strong ties with the unions and the labour movement, we'll see how Mulcair does with that though.

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To be honest, I knew you were into politics but I don't think I even knew you were once employed by the ndp, maybe I did and have forgot. Anyway, I had just finished watching cpac run the EI announcement when I made my comment and was rather let down at the complete lack of questions regarding unions by the press, not to mention consideration by Nash while voicing the ndp's "concerns" about these changes.

I too, am pro-union. I've been a union member now since 1990 (IBEW L.U 105) and my locals ties to the ndp run seriously deep. Basically the ndp is responsible for my local's existence in Hamilton. So, it concerns me when I hear very little regarding unions from them, at least in recent months anyway. Personally, I hope Mulcair works, but currently, all I really see is lots of chest pounding without much substance. Time will tell. They are definately gaining some traction.

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yeah.. I worked as a comms officer (I built and managed the web and socialmedia properties) from Sept 2010 to Jan 2012.. so I got to experience pretty much the highest high (elxn 41/Orange Crush) and lowest low (Jack's passing) of the party. It was quite the ride.

I think Mulcair is really trying to reach out to centerist liberals right now, in preparation for not only the next election but also the Liberal leadership race.

During the NDP leadership race Mulcair was criticised for not being as pro-union/pro-labour as the NPD's roots, maybe that's what we are seeing here.

Though I'm obviously an NDP supporter, I'm not the type of supporter that blindly follows any party. I'm just looking for the best fit with my personal politics. Currently (and historically) that is the NDP. But I certainly don't agree with everything they do.

I think it's unfortunate when you get people who blindly follow a political party. No institution is perfect, especially a political one :)

I have yet to hold a union gig. One day though, here's hoping :)

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I think Mulcair is really trying to reach out to centerist liberals right now, in preparation for not only the next election but also the Liberal leadership race.

During the NDP leadership race Mulcair was criticised for not being as pro-union/pro-labour as the NPD's roots, maybe that's what we are seeing here.

Yeah, that sounds about right I suppose. Although, personally I don't know how I feel about that - I find many centrists to be a bit too right leaning, regardless if they say otherwise. Either way, Mulcair hasn't been impressing me, yet anyway - although, I think appointing Cullen opposition house leader was a good choice, so I'll give Mulcair that.

Though I'm obviously an NDP supporter, I'm not the type of supporter that blindly follows any party. I'm just looking for the best fit with my personal politics. Currently (and historically) that is the NDP. But I certainly don't agree with everything they do.

I think it's unfortunate when you get people who blindly follow a political party. No institution is perfect, especially a political one :)

Agreed. I normally try to keep my support to myself, although it's always obvious where my opposition is. lol - Even though my Father was a union member and strict ndp supporter, I've only voted for them once (last election). Lpc lost me in the early 90s and voting for the smaller or grass roots groups has accomplished nothing except help split the vote and allow me a clean conscious, knowing I voted, each time I open my mouth to whine and bitch about the gov't.

Needless to say, the ndp also best fit my politics - at least when I weigh my politics against the choices available to me that could have the strongest effect against the cpc. Obviously I'm not overly impressed with them so far, but if I have to take a side - then ndp it will be.

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