Globe and Mail | Aug. 01, 1999 | Eugene Harasymiw
“Border guards can’t ask about criminality”

11024 - 82 Ave.
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 0T2
ph. (780) 431-9855; fax (780) 457-5170

August 1, 1999     Faxed to: (416) 585-5085

Toronto Globe & Mail
Toronto, ON

Dear Editor:

Re: “Border guards can’t ask about criminality” (July 30/99)

Let me see if I can understand this. The federal government in 1999 is prosecuting people who entered Canada 50 years ago for obtaining entry fraudulently, based on allegations that they hid their criminal past. This process presupposes that immigration officials asked each and every one of the several million people who entered Canada at that time about actions that federal court judges are being urged to regard as criminal today, although there isn’t the slightest evidence that the suspect committed them then. The accused are being found criminally culpable by association, implication, innuendo, conjecture, and so on, but not on proof.

But today, voila, the federal government is directing its border guards not to ask questions about the criminal actions of any entrant, for fear of embarrassing them. And then, according to the article, only one-half of one per cent find themselves before immigration officers for secondary examination, where such questioning presumably might take place -- provided the immigration officers aren’t also adverse to asking embarrassing questions.

Is that it? Just whose interests are being assuaged here?

Eugene Harasymiw, LL.B.