CBSA detention can be a political no-man’s-land

Posted by admin on Jan 28th, 2014

News 1130 January 28, 2014 9:25 pm

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The details still aren’t clear about why a woman died after being held in custody by Canada Border Services agents at the Vancouver International Airport. The woman was held for several days and then taken to hospital with a medical emergency where she later died. Security expert Josh Labove with SFU says being in CBSA custody is a grey area, or as he puts it, a political no-man’s-land.

“The issue in the meantime is that you’re not really in Canada, and, you’re not in the place that you left. So consular privileges don’t extend to you either.”

Labove says unlike police detention, there is no clear oversight.

“The transparency and the openness of the care they (CBSA) are providing I don’t think is particularly clear or honest or forthright.”

Once you’re arrested you’re usually read your rights meaning you’re given certain privileges under the Canadian Charter.

It’s a little different if you’re held by the CBSA at a point of entry says Labove.

“Just because we’ve landed at the airport, doesn’t necessarily mean we have all the rights and privileges of being in Canada.”

That can leave detainees in that grey area.

“And when the Charter doesn’t cover them, then due process and the rights and privileges we associate with Canadian criminal procedure or civil procedure don’t apply.”

The CBSA won’t comment on the case other than to say it is co-operating with a police and coroner’s investigation.

The BC Coroner’s office has confirmed the woman was a Mexican citizen.

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