Release: Over 175 cultural professionals Call for Cancellation of Border Security TV Show

Posted by admin on Apr 23rd, 2013


Over 175 cultural professionals are releasing an open letter of concern calling for the cancellation of the TV show Border Security: Canada’s Front Line.

Reposted from here:!artists-media-release/c1b35

One month ago this TV show made headlines when their TV crew was embedded with Canadian Border Services Agency officers during an immigration raid at a construction work site in Vancouver. A freedom of information request revealed that the show is approved by Minister Vic Toews and is receiving support from the federal government, including for operational costs.

Actors, directors, screenwriters, authors, producers, and musicians are now releasing a letter stating, “At best, this TV show is an invasion of privacy with questionable ethics on informed consent. At worst, it can put the lives of vulnerable migrants and their families at risk by commercially exploiting their stories for broadcast. We also find it extremely troubling that the federal government has approved of and dedicates resources to this production. This is not the Canadian entertainment or cultural production that so many are proud to call their own.”

The letter is linked here in full:!cultural-producers-letter/c1ken

Notable signatories on this letter include:

– Actors Nicola Cavendish (Genie Award and Gemini nomination), Margo Kidder (“Lois Lane” in Superman) and Maggie Wheeler (“Janice” on the TV show Friends)
– Filmmaker and Order of Canada recipient Bonnie Klein
– Director Sandy Wilson (Genie Awards) and Producer Patrick Corbett (Emmy nominee)
– Renowned Journalists and Commentators Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis
– National Bestselling Author Carmen Aguirre and Lambda Literary Award winners  Farzana Doctor and Amber Dawn
– Internationally-syndicated talk radio host Rhona Raskin
– Musicians Edward Henderson, Gordon Grdina and Ryan Guldemond
– Award-winning Comedians Aisha Alfa, Charles Demers, Martha Chaves
– Several award-winning Filmmakers such as Patricia Chica, Gregory Coyes, Richard Fung, John Greyson, Malcolm Guy, Ali Kazimi, Min Sook Lee, Ian Iqbal Rashid, Velcrow Ripper, Althea Thauberger and BH Yael.​

According to Vancouver-based award-winning artistic director, actor and playwright Marcus Youssef, “This TV show has raised public outrage for making entertainment out of deportation. We, as cultural professionals, are proud to join affected migrants and their family members, community groups, over 23,000 petitioners, legal groups, and international human rights organizations in calling on Force Four, Canadian Border Service Agency, Shaw Media, and Global TV to end production of Border Security. Deportation is not entertainment.”

-30 –

Marcus Youssef: 604 202 5894, Sara Kendall: 604 603 5467


Bonnie Klein, filmmaker and Order of Canada recipient:

“As a veteran Canadian filmmaker, I am appalled by the exploitation of the very real lives of vulnerable migrants for sensational ‘entertainment.’ We have lost our boundaries.”

Rhona Raskin, internationally-syndicated talk radio host and syndicated columnist:

“Reality television’s expanding march into previously private subject matters has often been with some questionable consent by some of those participants, including unfortunately, people with mental health issues, and parents of children. It is disturbing that we would consider adding to this sad voyeurism with a government-funded programme that portrays deportation as entertainment. I have worked with some of the good folks of Force Four in the past and hope they reconsider.”

Charles Demers, writer shortlisted for a BC Book Prize and comedian:

“We live in a time when the world’s richest companies can move effortlessly from country to country in search of greater profit, while some of the hardest-working, least-rewarded people on earth are criminalized for trying to provide for themselves and their families, wherever they can. It heaps insult onto injury to have this criminalization turned into entertainment.”

“I have worked with the people at Force Four, and know them to be decent, caring individuals. They are better than this misstep that they’ve made — and we all make missteps. But we have a responsibility as storytellers to be empathetic and respectful of our fellows and, fortunately, we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and to move forward by doing the right thing.”

Aisha Alfa, award-winning comedian:

“Being deported is certainly not an event to be shown publicly. If we are a society that finds entertainment in embarrassment and shame at this level, I no longer want to watch TV. When dealing with people’s lives we should honour privacy for others in a way that we would expect our privacy to be honoured.”

Comments are closed.