HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html No Place For Texas Rangers
Pubdate: Tue, 23 Aug 2005
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Times Colonist


Increasing Presence Of American Agents Is Making A Mockery Of Canadian Values

Canadian cops have become used to co-operating with their American 
counterparts over the years, but it's beginning to look as if co-operation 
is turning into reliance -- reliance on U.S. agents to track down criminals 
in this country, and reliance on U.S. courts to give them a punishment that 
in Canada they wouldn't deserve.

A cursory reading of the newspapers in the past few weeks would lead 
Canadians to believe Texas Rangers are patrolling our highways and that the 
streets of Vancouver are swarming with agents of the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Secret 
Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Department of 
Homeland Security.

We're not allowed to know how many of these agents are here, and we're 
assured they have only "observer" status and are acting under the 
supervision of Canadian police officers in joint investigations. We 
Canadians are notoriously law-abiding; we'll do anything someone in a 
uniform tells us to do, and we're a little in awe of the resources the 
Americans have to combat crime.

But the zeal with which American authorities are pursuing suspected drug 
offenders in Canada is, naturally, making us a little uneasy. Some civil 
libertarians warn that we're surrendering our sovereignty by helping them 
do it.

Four recent cases illustrate this trend.

- - An off-duty Vancouver police officer was stopped in the Fraser Valley by 
Texas state troopers working with the RCMP to detect drivers under the 
influence of marijuana.

- - Canadian police, acting on a request from U.S. agencies, arrested Marc 
Emery, Vancouver's "Prince of Pot," for selling marijuana seeds over the 
Internet -- an activity that police in Canada ignored for years.

- - A Seattle judge is being asked to seize a property in Langley containing 
the entrance to a tunnel under the border allegedly used by drug traffickers.

- - An FBI agent based in Canada has been identifying American victims of 
telemarketing fraud so that Canadian suspects can be prosecuted in civil 
actions in the U.S., using evidence that wouldn't be admissible in a 
Canadian criminal court.

According to Emery's lawyer, Canadian police try to get suspects in Canada 
into the U.S. to be prosecuted and face penalties higher than Parliament 
has assigned.

What we don't know, of course, is whether American agents are operating in 
Canada without the knowledge of Canadian police. In 1999, DEA agents and a 
confidential source entered Canada to operate a "reverse sting" operation 
to lure Canadian drug purchasers into the U.S. to be prosecuted.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge accused the agents of "blatant acts in disregard 
of Canadian sovereign values and law," and refused an extradition 
application for a Canadian caught in the sting.

Justice J.R. Dillon said the operation, "without the knowledge or consent 
of Canadian authorities, in defiance of known Canadian requirements for 
legal conduct, with the express purpose to entice Canadians to the United 
States to commit criminal acts in that jurisdiction and acting illegally to 
offer to sell cocaine in Canada is shocking to the Canadian conscience.

"It is a serious violation of the sense of fair play and decency that has 
been established in co-operation agreements for mutual assistance in 
criminal matters," she declared.

If this sort of thing is still going on today it is still "shocking to the 
Canadian conscience." If Canadian cops are sitting back and giving U.S. 
agents a long leash to further their anti-drug campaign in this country it 
still offends our sense of fair play and decency.

Mutual assistance in pursuing common goals of law enforcement is desirable. 
But it must not be used to usurp the rule of law and standards of justice 
set by Parliament in order to further a political anti-marijuana campaign 
in the U.S. And it must not subject Canadians to punishment they would not 
receive in Canada.

If sovereignty is to mean anything, we will determine what is illegal and 
set the penalties we judge appropriate. And we will expect our cops to 
remember that even those of us who run afoul of the law deserve the law's 
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