Update on the Raids and Reality Show

Posted by admin on Mar 24th, 2013



Please spread the word, there is lots of news and commentaries coming out. Some are below, we also post to our FB site and Twitter:


If you are on twitter please use and spread #Bordergate #ToewsTV


Sign and circulate this petition calling on National Geographic Channel and Force Four Entertainment to cancel the show “Border Security” immediately, and for the Canadian Border Services Agency to stop participating in this program and conducting violent deportations.

We are at 20,000 signatures, and it is getting attention, so even if you aren’t into signing petitions, consider signing this one and sharing it around, it will help us in our future actions.


Related story: Wife of detainee wants reality show cancelled


We have been heavily involved in supporting the men and their families. We currently know of six men who are being detained and one who has been deported (read below). Five of the men are being held between two prisons (Fraser Pre-Trial and Fraser Corrections) and have had two detention hearings, as of today. Family members are struggling to have their family members released, make final visits to the prison, and are coping with the reality of their families being torn apart and children loosing their fathers.

The families could use your support in a number of ways:

– We are raising funds, including for legal fees, if you can donate please email sozan@riseup.net
– If you are able to drive family members for prison visits, have food donations to offer, can help with childcare etc, please email noii-van@resist.ca

Read here on how one mother prepares for a jail visit and talks about, effectively, becoming a single mother:


There is a lot of attention on the Border Security reality show that was involved in filming the raids. This show is produced by Vancouver-based Force Four Entertainment and broadcast by the National Geographic Channel, Shaw Media and Global BC.

It has now also become known that Minister Vic Toews and the Prime Minister’s office have approved this show and resources – including staff and operational costs by CBSA – are subsidizing the show. While the government defends the show with the usual rhetoric about catching ‘illegals’ and ‘criminals’, they are refusing to divulge how much they are spending on the show.

Harper government is “de facto” executive producer of border security reality TV show: http://is.gd/PG5yQN

Read the full memo and contract between CBSA and Force Four, including Toews approval: http://is.gd/FU6pOT

The document was prepared for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and it bears his signature and approval. It also says someone from the Prime Minister’s Office viewed a demo reel provided by Force Four Entertainment, as well as members of Toews’ staff and CBSA senior managers and legal services. (Source CBC http://is.gd/5c9VV5)

In response Diana Thompson, an Indigenous woman and wife of one of those detained, says, “Our family is going through a tough situation. And now we find out that our government is part of this horrible TV show. This is unfair and disgusting and a violation of our basic privacy and civil liberties.” Diana’s husband, Renan, who is currently incarcerated and facing deportation to Honduras where he fears for his life, was one day away from completing his immigration sponsorship forms.

CBCNews.ca reports that the article that got the most reaction over the weekend was this story and that the highest rated comment on the story was this one: “Resign, Vic Toews!”

According to the show’s credits, Border Security received funding through the Canadian film or video production tax credit, a federal program run through Canadian Heritage, and the B.C. production services tax credit. (Source: Globe and Mail http://is.gd/JRakyA)

CBSA claims that participation in the program is voluntary, even though consents are signed under duress and, in the case of the latest situation, while in detention. In other cases, such as filming at the border, people being filmed are told they can ‘opt-out’ of being filmed (rather than opt-in and actively consent to being filmed).

For your information, here are some statements from others (NOII is not affiliated with any political party or state interest):

Justice for Migrant Workers: http://www.justicia4migrantworkers.org/bc/
Mayor Gregor Robertson: http://is.gd/YY2e6o
COPE Vancouver: http://is.gd/GTnbYR
NDP MLA’s: http://is.gd/9UCf0d
Opposition parties in Parliament: http://is.gd/pdwuAs
Council of Canadians and Leadnow: http://is.gd/KKhpCR
Idle No More has also been circulating the petition and spreading the word.


It is important to emphasize that while this reality show must be shut down, we are not only opposed to the fact that these raids were filmed but also that these raids occured and that every day detention and deportation harms our communities.

“While it’s easy to castigate Force Four Entertainment, Inc. for choosing to produce such a monstrosity, this story isn’t just a question of the moral depravity of tabloid television, or even of the general commodification and passive enjoyment of systemic violence against racialized peoples (although it is that); it is critical to point out that the conditions which made Border Security: Canada’s Front Lines possible are the deliberate result of almost a decade of Conservative policies by the Harper government. Xenophobic and fearmongering immigration practices, the increased use of migrant workers and attendant reduction of their rights, and the militarization of Canadian border all unswervingly led to the appalling scenario we witnessed this week.” – Michael Stewart

Read this piece in full:

And watch this interview with NOII member on CBC:

And this piece by NOII member on the politics of anti-migrant fear:


Oscar Mata Duran, one of the men detained and filmed, was deported to Mexico on Wednesday. Before his deportation, he told reporters “I hate the word illegal, I am human, we are all human“. He also advocated for “Vancouver should be a sanctuary city, safe from such immigration policies.“

VMC video including Oscar’s final words at the airport:

Oscar talks to CBC about feeling pressured to sign the consent form:

Read a related important story on how Oscar’s wife gave birth in Vancouver
without access to health care:


BC Liberties Association has filed a complaint against the Canada Border Services Agency to the federal Privacy Commissioner.

Confused and afraid about what would happen to him, Mr. Mata Duran signed the consent form without reading it,” said the complaint. “At no point was he given a thorough explanation about the uses to which the footage would be put.”

The complaint was launched with the support of a broad range of groups, including the Agricultural Workers Alliance, Sanctuary Health, Council of Canadians, Lead Now, and No One Is Illegal Vancouver.

Read more in the Globe and Mail http://is.gd/N4ENiX Toronto Star http://is.gd/ZiflyY or Vancouver Province http://is.gd/WSjmcG

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