Canada-U.S. Border: American Police Want Legal Exemptions

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gotchya
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Canada-U.S. Border: American Police Want Legal Exemptions

Postby gotchya » Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:15 am

OTTAWA - The United States wants its police officers to be exempt from Canadian law if they agree to take part in a highly touted cross-border policing initiative, says an internal RCMP memo.

The debate over whose laws would apply to U.S. officers working in Canada raises important questions of sovereignty and police accountability, says the briefing note prepared for RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson.

"Canadians would likely have serious concerns with cross-designated officers from the U.S. not being accountable for their actions in Canada."

The planned pilot project — part of a sweeping Canada-U.S. perimeter security pact — would see the two countries build on joint border-policing efforts by creating integrated teams in areas such as intelligence and criminal investigations.

The perimeter deal, being phased in over several years, aims to ensure the safe, speedy passage of goods and people across the 49th parallel while bolstering North American defences.

The October 2012 RCMP memo was intended to brief Paulson for a meeting with David Moloney, a senior adviser to the Privy Council Office for implementing the vaunted perimeter security deal. A censored version of the classified document was recently obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

It notes that plans were underway for trial projects in the areas of policing and the preclearance of truck cargo, each involving U.S. officers working alongside Canadian counterparts.

The cargo pilot project — which has since been announced — entails U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working in Fort Erie, Ont., and Surrey, B.C., to pre-inspect southbound shipments according to American customs procedures.

The so-called Next Generation policing project — whose pilots have yet to be finalized — would involve U.S. and Canadian officers working on each other's turf to enforce the host country's laws.

However, according to the RCMP, the two countries haven't seen eye to eye on the tricky question of which country's legal system would deal with a police officer accused of breaking the law.

Traditionally, co-operative initiatives in cross-border law enforcement and border management have been based on the notion that the laws of the host country apply to illegal acts on its territory and that host-country courts would have jurisdiction, says the RCMP memo.

"However, the U.S. has recently expressed concerns with the continued application of the 'host country law model' and has requested that its officers be exempted from the laws or the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts in Canada in the context of the Next Gen and Preclearance initiatives."

For the cargo preclearance pilot projects, announced in March, Canadian law will apply to U.S. customs officers, said Public Safety Canada spokeswoman Josee Picard.

But the issue remains unsettled for the policing initiative, which was supposed to be up and running last year.

The RCMP memo says there are several reasons why it "remains appropriate" for host country laws and courts to continue holding sway, including:

— the fact it is generally the right of sovereign states to have jurisdiction over unlawful acts in its territory;
— the Canadian and U.S. justice systems are very similar when it comes to use of force by police;
— the border pact was negotiated on the understanding that the countries' respective legal frameworks would apply.

"Canadians place a high value on sovereignty and police accountability," the briefing note adds.

A preliminary assessment indicates it "would not be feasible nor desirable to have two law enforcement officers working together being subjected to different regimes for accountability and criminal liability," the memo says.

But senior Mounties recommended to Paulson that the RCMP participate in the development of options, "ensuring that law enforcement concerns are properly addressed, rather than taking a firm stance on retaining the status quo."

Any new model must be fully reciprocal, providing Canadian police with the same protections in the United States as granted to U.S. law enforcement officials working in Canada, adds the RCMP briefing note.

"This may alleviate any concerns that there may be with respect to RCMP members being subjected to the U.S. court system."

RCMP Sgt. Julie Gagnon said the force had no comment on the memo.

Public Safety has said it would be inappropriate to discuss Canada-U.S. negotiations on the legal framework for the policing initiative.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment.

While I certainly see no issue with joint-enforcement and pre-clearance. I do however think they should be bound by Canadian law and within the oversight of the Canadian judiciary. Just as a Canadian should be subject to American laws, and the oversight of the American judiciary.

I believe the question raises issues of sovereignty.
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Re: Canada-U.S. Border: American Police Want Legal Exemption

Postby dira necessitas » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:16 pm

They would still be subject to US laws. Similar to a status of forces agreement or SOFA the CF occasionally has in place in foreign countries, the home country would be able to prosecute their own as long as the host nation agrees and the crime is not so absolutely heinous. This could be revolving around carrying firearms as was mentioned in another thread.

I wouldn't want to be totally subject to a foreign state's laws while on the job. Obviously you have to work within local laws and customs, but sometimes shit happens and I would rather be dealt with by my home nation then tossed to the foreign state.
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Re: Canada-U.S. Border: American Police Want Legal Exemption

Postby Punisher-One » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:01 pm

I see no problem with this.

Maybe our government could let us BSOs participate in these types of initiatives.....oh wait....they probably wont......as our CC Sec 495 powers would be arbitrarily muzzled by our upper management.

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Re: Canada-U.S. Border: American Police Want Legal Exemption

Postby Ziggy Stardust » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:02 pm

I'm all for integrated teams.

As far as US pre-clearance facilities on Canadian soil.....

Wait until the first lost Canadian wanders into the facility, explains that he or she didn't mean to end up there and asks to simply be allowed to leave. It will happen and it shouldn't take more than a day or two. There are a shitload of potential issues waiting to happen.
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Re: Canada-U.S. Border: American Police Want Legal Exemption

Postby SPC » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:01 am

Ziggy Stardust wrote:I'm all for integrated teams.

As far as US pre-clearance facilities on Canadian soil.....

Wait until the first lost Canadian wanders into the facility, explains that he or she didn't mean to end up there and asks to simply be allowed to leave. It will happen and it shouldn't take more than a day or two. There are a shitload of potential issues waiting to happen.


I'm confused. You know there are already US pre-clearance
Facilities in Canada, right?
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Re: Canada-U.S. Border: American Police Want Legal Exemption

Postby Ziggy Stardust » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:20 am

SPC wrote:I'm confused. You know there are already US pre-clearance
Facilities in Canada, right?


At a land border? No, in fact I wasn't aware of that. Where?
If you're referring to airports -- that's a very different animal.
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Re: Canada-U.S. Border: American Police Want Legal Exemption

Postby smarmy_rebel » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:02 am

Hoodwinkle wrote:I'm pretty sure there is a pre-clearance rail facility in the Windsor area...


I'm assuming he meant a pre clearance facility where they do enforcement.

They want to set up a commercial (ie trucks) pre clearance facility in Fort Erie but sans enforcement as well because the whole having US Customs being moved to Canadian soil idea got quashed.

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Re: Canada-U.S. Border: American Police Want Legal Exemption

Postby gotchya » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:41 am

smarmy_rebel wrote:They want to set up a commercial (ie trucks) pre clearance facility in Fort Erie but sans enforcement as well because the whole having US Customs being moved to Canadian soil idea got quashed.

http://www.peacebridgerenovation.com/in ... cle&id=132

Was looking at that today. No thanks.
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Re: Canada-U.S. Border: American Police Want Legal Exemption

Postby smarmy_rebel » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:32 pm

gotchya wrote:
smarmy_rebel wrote:They want to set up a commercial (ie trucks) pre clearance facility in Fort Erie but sans enforcement as well because the whole having US Customs being moved to Canadian soil idea got quashed.

http://www.peacebridgerenovation.com/in ... cle&id=132

Was looking at that today. No thanks.[/q]

I think it was a terrible idea when they wanted to move the whole US Customs operation over to the Canadian side and I'm against this "pre clearance" idea too. Thankfully the Canadian government said they couldn't because their fingerprinting of Canadians/PRs on Canadian soil would violate the Charter.

They can't get anything built on the Buffalo side because of all the politics there so they think it's just easier to move it all to Canada where we aren't completely screwed up like they are yet... In fact, the Governor of New York supported getting rid of the Peace Bridge Authority (which is a bi national not for profit) altogether. Like literally, it's called "the Peace Bridge" because the two countries came together and agreed to operate it in tandem lol. It's supposed to symbolize USA/Canada cooperation!


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