By The Canadian Press for The Vancouver Sun / http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Rights+group+calls+independent+oversight+federal+border+agency/9582352/story.html
Published on March 5, 2014
VANCOUVER – A B.C.-based civil rights group is renewing its call for independent oversight of the agency that polices Canada’s borders.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association says the federal government has done nothing to implement a recommendation from the Maher Arar inquiry to create an independent agency to monitor the national security duties of the Canada Border Services Agency.
The inquiry was ordered to investigate what happened when Arar, an Ottawa telecommunications engineer, was tortured in Syria over false terrorism suspicions.
The civil liberties group’s executive director, Josh Paterson, says the federal government needs to go further than the Arar inquiry and create an oversight body to monitor every aspect of the border agency.
Paterson says the agency has broad police powers, and people who face abuse or mistakes need to have an independent way to make a complaint and have it investigated.
The border agency has come under scrutiny in B.C. recently after a Mexican woman died by suicide in a holding facility at Vancouver’s airport.