Home / Border Security returns amid controversy following Vancouver raid

Border Security returns amid controversy following Vancouver raid

By Marsha Lederman/ Globe and Mail

Published May 7, 2014


The television series Border Security is returning, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the show.

Production on season three began on Monday, with plans to shoot in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax and other cities.

The series – which runs on Shaw’s Global and National Geographic Channel – attracted criticism last year, following a raid at a Vancouver construction site. But the Vancouver-based production company that makes the show says it believes its fans outweigh its detractors, and they’re excited about making a third season.

“We’re proud of the show,” said Gillian Lowrey, one of three partners at Force Four Entertainment, in an interview Tuesday with The Globe and Mail.

“It’s a true Canadian hit,” added company president Rob Bromley.

The show is produced in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which allows Force Four exclusive access at border crossings.

A year ago, the show attracted criticism after a CBSA inland enforcement raid on a construction site, where the agency believed someone on a Canada-wide warrant was working illegally, according to Force Four.

The production company was invited to document the sweep. When the unit arrived, the CBSA found a number of other workers they believed were there illegally, and arrests were made, ultimately resulting in at least four deportations, according to the group No One Is Illegal.

“The footage that we shot that day has never been seen publicly ever,” said Mr. Bromley, stressing that the footage was not used in the series. “I think there’s probably been about five people who have seen that.”

Nonetheless, the incident led to calls for the cancellation of the series – and fierce questioning of the merits of the CBSA being involved in the TV show, which is modelled on an Australian series.

The BC Civil Liberties Association charged the series violated people’s privacy rights.

The company says the criticism was strewn with inaccuracies, at times levelled by people who had never seen the show, which they say was misconstrued as a reality show as opposed to a documentary series.

“We had confidence that we have done the right thing and were doing the right thing and had the right to tell those stories, and that’s what we were doing,” Mr. Bromley said. “And ultimately that’s what turned out to be true: that we did nothing wrong.”

Reached on Wednesday and told by The Globe that the series was returning for a third season, Josh Paterson, executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, said “we are very disappointed that CBSA is continuing to work with the producers to make this show.

“We really do think that they ought to be focusing on their priority; they ought to be focusing on law enforcement, they ought to be focusing on protecting Canadians, protecting people’s rights and not busy making TV shows about themselves.”