I would like to respond to the recent story in the media regarding the grand opening of the RCMP headquarters on Tollgate Road in Cornwall. Cornwall is a small city in Ontario on the St. Lawrence River, and is on the Canadian/US border. When I see an event like this with all the dignitaries and the politicians present, I like to find out if there’s a hidden agenda. Often there is one.
Without any explanation it was reported that among the policing partners at the new RCMP headquarters would be the New York State Police force?
I have lived in Cornwall for almost 60 years and I can’t remember any police forces from the United States housed here and given the same policing powers as Canadian officers. I know that in a ‘state of emergency’ Canada and the United States would support one another and cross the border, but in this case we are taking about a permanent change in policy. What’s the explanation?
In the course of an integrated cross-border operation, every designated officer is a peace officer in every part of Canada and has the same power to enforce an Act of Parliament as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
So, if a New York State Police officer were declared to be a designated officer under this act, then this officer would have the same power of arrest and enforcement as an RCMP officer. Under the umbrella of cross border operations American police officers would acquire the same policing powers as their Canadian counterparts.
To whom would the American police be accountable? How would complaints against American police on Canadian soil be addressed? Would American police testify in Canadian courts and would Canadian courts have jurisdiction over American police officers in the case of negligence?
It is fine for RCMP Commissioner William Elliot to say that the New York State police are ‘partners’ but Bill C-60 goes much further. It proposes a merging of Canadian and American police forces and every Canadian should be opposed to that.
This is the beginning of the slippery slope, the sacrifice of Canadian
sovereignty and the ‘harmonization’ of police forces to form what will
eventually become a North American Union as I have written about extensively on this site.
Unfortunately, Public Safety Minister Van Loan never made it to Cornwall for the RCMP Official Opening. Maybe he will make the claim that he is working on a strategy for the disastrous situation at the Canadian border. He has yet to appear in Cornwall and he continues to evade all of the stakeholders who want a solution to this unprecedented lack of leadership by the Conservative government.
Ironically, it was Van Loan along with the justice minister who tabled Bill C-60 on November 27, 2009. I guess that was another reason that Van Loan preferred to avoid Cornwall and the inevitable questions from community leaders. The Conservative government is anything but transparent these days.
I believe that joint operations of international police forces are a necessary component of border security however I would strongly urge all citizens to oppose the extension of policing powers to American police forces on Canadian soil. We would be committing a terrible mistake if we Americanize our police and our justice system.
MP Guy Lauzon is always asking for feedback. Now is the time to tell him your opinion on Bill C-60. We must ask him to vote against this bill when it comes up for 1st reading.