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NEWS: Border agency places restrictions on TV show, while calls for its cancellation continue

In mid-March, the Council of Canadians added its voice to the many expressing concern about the television show ‘Border Security’ following the filming of armed Canadian Border Security Agency officers storming, interrogating and handcuffing migrant and undocumented workers at construction sites in Vancouver. Maude Barlow recently stated, “The Harper government and the production company should not be collaborating on a disgusting for-profit show that has turned deportation into entertainment. Is this really where the federal government is spending tax-payer resources and what broadcasters are choosing as programming?”

Today, Postmedia News reports, “The Canada Border Services Agency has imposed restrictions on what a documentary film crew can shoot following heavy criticism it allowed cameras to roll during an immigration raid at a Vancouver construction site that ensnared several undocumented workers, newly released records show.”

“Noting that there was a risk ‘negative public response may continue’, CBSA staff recommended to agency president Luc Portelance that he allow the production to resume but that he limit filming of inland enforcement activities — actions that take place away from the border — to situations involving individuals wanted for ‘serious criminality’ or those featured on CBSA’s ‘most wanted’ list. …Rob Bromley, president of production company Force Four Entertainment, also confirmed he has no plans to use any of the footage from the controversial Vancouver raid ‘as the individuals did not fit the criteria we had already established’ for serious criminality. …It has also stated that it would never use stories or footage of refugee claimants.”

“That’s not likely to placate community organizations, human rights groups and other critics who, in growing numbers, have called for the cancellation of the documentary series, Border Security: Canada’s Front Line. …’It’s clear they’re responding to the negative publicity. That’s important. There’s acknowledgment there’s something wrong with this show’, Harsha Walia, a Vancouver activist with the group No One Is Illegal, said Friday. But even with the restrictions, the reality series is still ‘taking advantage of people in vulnerable situations’, she said.”

The article also notes, “The government documents revealed for the first time that CBSA spent about $60,000 in the first season to cover salary and travel expenses for staff to escort film crews and oversee filming. The second season was expected to cost about $160,000 because there are more episodes and more regions to cover.”

“Filming for season two is expected to wrap up at the end of June, Bromley said. He wouldn’t say if there would be a third season.”

For more, please read:
UPDATE: Council among 70 groups calling for ‘Border Security’ to be cancelled