Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A curious announcement from Stockwell Day

Our man Stock had a big, suspiciously well-timed announcement Tuesday night: "Public safety minister announces arrest of 45 suspected illegals." Given the Auditor General's criticism of the Canada Border Services Agency earlier on Tuesday, it's awfully coincidental that the gang who can't shoot straight would suddenly announce big arrests of undocumented workers on Tuesday night. And be touted by the Public Safety Minister. Here are the curious details:
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day says Canada Border Services Agency has arrested 45 people alleged to be in the country illegally.

In a statement Tuesday night, Day says the 45 were picked up during a raid on a distribution warehouse facility in the Toronto area. The undocumented workers face possible removal from Canada. The release did not say when the arrests occurred.

Earlier Tuesday the federal auditor general blasted the CBSA saying it doesn't know the whereabouts of 41,000 people ordered to leave the country. (emphasis added)
Here's Day's spinning of the immaculately timed arrests:
Day said the government takes the issue of illegal immigration "very seriously."

"I'd like to commend the CBSA for its investigative efforts and these arrests," Day said. "This large-scale operation protects the integrity of our immigration program and reinforces the security and prosperity of Canada."
I'd really like to see some digging on this. It just sounds a little too fishy. Who knows when these arrests occurred. And why were they suddenly announced Tuesday night, on the same day the agency came in for such criticism?

The implications of this story are disturbing. It's entirely possible that this raid - or the report of it - was executed for partisan political purposes. Day's office should disclose when these arrests occurred. If they occurred in the window between the Auditor General's heads up to the government on the contents of her report and yesterday, then there are a lot of questions that will follow. For now, all we can surmise is that the announcement of the arrests was timed for p.r. purposes to rebut, on the exact same day the Auditor General's criticism of the Border Services Agency. And that this was apparently coordinated by Day. But to put the worst case quite plainly, it may be the case that the Border Service has arrested "undocumented workers" to serve Conservative political purposes. Leading one to wonder whether there is a politicization of the Border Services Agency in play here. Any kind of political influence being exercised over such an agency with the power of arrest would be entirely inappropriate.

Needless to say, lots of questions need to be asked here.