Canada’s Bill C-23 would give even more power to U.S. border guards now operating in Canada at airports, and other travel terminals USA, bus rail, ferry

Canada’s Bill C-23 would give even more power to U.S. border guards now operating in Canada at airports, and other travel terminals with destinations into the US
Photo Credit: CBC

Canadians growing uneasy about more power for U.S. border guards in Canada

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Although not stated, the idea came from terrorist attacks in the U.S. resulting in much tighter border controls in the US.

An  international agreement with the US in 2015 permitted U.S. border agents to operate on Canadian soil, in airports, rail, bus and other terminals. This was to create “pre-clearance” to reduce delays at US entry points.

Now a new federal proposal, Bill C-23 would give U.S. agents on Canadian soil, even more powers, including the power to detain Canadians, conduct strip searches of Canadian travellers, and to carry sidearms.

A survey released today by the polling firm Angus Reid Institute shows Canadians are becoming more uneasy about giving American authorities more powers on Canadian soil.

C-23 would give U.S agents the right to carry sidearms in Canada, and to detain and strip search Canadians. Civil rights advocacy groups have expressed strong conceerns about the law. © CBC

The survey shows about half (49%) of respondents agree with the bill, while over a third (36%) oppose it, and 15 percent are unsure.

A clear majority of travellers who have gone through the process say the pre-clearance was generally easy (93%) and indeed 55 percent would like it expanded.

However, things change slightly with a different question. When  asked if C-23 gives too much power to  U.S. border guards on Canadian soil, 53 percent of respondents said it does.  Some 48 percent says C-23 strikes the right balance overall.

Civil rights advocacy groups, and the federal political opposition parties have expressed their concerns over the Bill since its proposal and the issue of giving foreign authorities such powers within Canada..

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5 comments on “Canadians growing uneasy about more power for U.S. border guards in Canada
  1. Avatar John McVicar says:

    Are we going to be allowed to have our people south of the border to do the same thing for visitors coming into Canada. I can’t see the Americans wanting Canadian law enforcement people on THEIR soil with guns.
    AND, I just don’t want Americans up here with guns. Their gun culture is so different than ours. Their police are trained differently than ours. Come up here without guns? Fine. They wouldn’t be doing their work in isolation anyway, so Canadians with guns could be close by.

  2. Avatar jim cowan says:

    Chuck em out.!But nicely.

  3. Avatar David Gerrior says:

    I think this would be a huge mistake. Does this also allow Canadian Border guards the same right to carry arms in the US or detain American citizens? I doubt American officials would allow such an intrusion by Canadian Border guards and they would scream bloody murder. This would be seen as an affront to American civil rights to be detained by foreign officials on US soil! Wake up Mr. Trudeau. Unless we are granted the same rights of search and seizure then see this for what it is – American intrusion justified by unlikely fears of terrorist attacks. I felt the 2015 international agreement permitting U.S. border agents to operate on Canadian soil was unjustified. The pretext of “pre-clearance” to reduce delays at US entry points was a red herring. I would have stopped at the allowing them to work in Canada but not to carry side arms or the ability to detain anyone. All they have to do is work with a legitimate Canadian peace officer who would carry side arms and have the right to detain someone. No government should give away its powers of search, detain or seizure. It makes no sense at all and as a Canadian citizen I would be outraged by an American who would try and detain me on Canadian soil!

  4. Avatar Rene Albert says:

    Does anyone else have the feeling that the Americans are getting a little paranoid???

    • Avatar David Gerrior says:

      Rene you are absolutely correct! Paranoia seems to be rampant in the US and its only going to grow worse under the current administration. The border is there for a reason. It defines our country and to allow any other country to operate on Canadian soil as if they were in the USA is patently ridiculous. Its time to pull the plug on this scheme.