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Border Services Agency officers, Liberals

Canada's border guards: from bank tellers to wimps

By Arthur Weinreb

Friday, September 29, 2006

And, according to the federal Liberals, this transformation has taken place in less than five years.

Last Sunday, 60 Border Services Agency officers walked off the job at 4 B.C. border crossing points after being advised by U.S. authorities that a criminal, believed to be armed and dangerous, might be headed their way. This was not the first walkout to take place under such circumstances. For years the border officers and their union (CEUDA) have been arguing for the right to be armed as Canada's first line of defense against criminals and terrorists who seek entry into the country. The Harper government agreed that the officers should be armed, although it will take some time to see this fully implemented.

During the next day's Question Period in the House of Commons, NDP MP Joe Comartin posed a question concerning the walkout to Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day. While the question was being asked, Liberal MP Derek Lee shouted "That's because they're a bunch of wimps", referring to the officers who left their posts. At the conclusion of Question Period, Day raised Lee's remarks as a point of order, telling the speaker that Lee had called the border officers "wimps" "10 or 15 times". Lee refused to apologize saying that, "I'm not referring to our police or our military. I am talking of the people who man our borders." Lee is clearly of the view that is not uncommon in the Liberal Party that the function of those who man Canada's borders is to act as Wal-Mart greeters to those who seek entry into the country, including those who are violent criminals and terrorists. These officers have no business acting as the peace officers that they are defined to be under Canadian law. At least by making the comments that he did, Derek Lee managed to attain Liberal "fairness" in angering both the law and order right and the pro-union left.

Derek Lee is not the first or only Liberal MP to insult the men and women who guard our borders. Back in 2002, when the arming of border officers was being debated, then-Liberal Revenue Minister Elinor Caplan told the House that border officers should do what bank tellers do; if they're threatened they should simply hand over the money and call the police. After that, Canadians can only hope that the cops catch the bad guy before he marries a Canadian, successfully applies for permanent residency and acquires citizenship. At least Lee can feel happy that he actually managed to be more insulting to the public servants who work at our border crossings than Elinor Caplan was. For those that remember Elinor, this was no mean feat.

Before the incidents of this week occurred, Ron Moran, the National President of CEUDA had arranged a meeting with the Liberals' customs critic, Mark Holland. Moran refused to go unless Lee first apologized for his remarks which he has yet to do. In order to try and save the meeting, Holland's staff tried to distance themselves from Lee's "wimp" comments by saying that his views are not the views of the Liberal Party. But not only has Lee not apologized for his characterization of the unarmed officers, no other Liberal has. The silence of not only the Liberal caucus but those who are currently battling out for their party's leadership has been deadly.

The lack of a Liberal response to Lee's comments that have been widely criticized by both Conservatives and the NDP can lead to the inference that they agree not only with the fact that the officers should not be armed but that those who refused to stay and possibly get involved in a confrontation with a violent criminal are indeed wimps. But more importantly, the silence of the Liberals illustrates what a low priority they really do place upon Canada's security.

The Liberals have clearly shown through their comments and more importantly, their lack of response to what happened in British Columbia and its aftermath that they simply cannot be trusted to protect Canada from the threat of infiltration by terrorists and foreign criminals. Perhaps Mr. Lee should take some time and try and determine just who the real wimps are.

Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. His work has appeared on, Men's News Daily, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck and The Rant. Arthur can be reached at:

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