(This column was published in the North Shore News on Aug. 18, 1999)

 

Canada's soft laws easy target for abuse

By Leo Knight

ANOTHER boatload of illegal migrants washes up on our beaches.  

 

Meanwhile, the U.S. government is threatening to add Canada to the "Majors" list of drug producing and trafficking nations.  

 

The two events made big news last week and strangely enough, both are connected.  

 

On Monday in the National Post, Diane Francis reported on a leaked Immigration Department memo citing the government of the People's Republic of China essentially blaming our federal government's policies for the illegal migrant problem from Fujian province.  

 

According to the document the message from the PRC was clear. "You expect us to try and hold the lid on the boiling pot of illegal migrants, while your refugee, welfare and legal systems continue to put more kindling on the fire."  

 

In short, Canada's laws are too soft on the criminal element.  

 

The message in the second story from the U.S. is primarily the same.  

 

In the U.S. State Department report, documented last week in the Globe & Mail, the Americans complained that our judges are soft on narcotics crime and sentences are too light.  

 

Not much of a revelation to those of us who pay attention to the courts.  

 

The average sentence for a street level drug trafficker? Jail? Hardly. A $200 or $300 fine is the cost of doing business.  

 

It's sort of a licence fee paid periodically to a government itself rife with corruption.  

 

The report also spoke of the lack of Canadian rules in the banking industry which facilitates the money laundering so needed by the organized crime groups to actually be able to use all the money generated by their illegal activities.  

 

Currently in Canada, only transactions valued at over $10,000 are reportable by the banks.  

 

The crooks simply employ mules to do nothing but purchase stocks, bonds, bills and funds in amounts less than the 10 grand limit.  

 

Hit five or 10 different banks a day per mule and, well, you get the idea.  

 

The Americans also pointed out that cutbacks in the RCMP have seriously inhibited the force's ability to combat drug trafficking.  

 

This is a no-brainer. The Mounties have to go, cap in hand, every year to the bureaucrats in Treasury Board pleading their case for the dosh needed to try to keep pace in the fight.  

 

With the current federal surplus exceeding $10 billion, there is simply no excuse for the financial restrictions handcuffing the police forcing them to cut all manner of services just to maintain front-line reactive policing.  

 

The Globe quoted a U.S. DEA officer saying, "Canada is just one big sieve. Tonnes of dope is just flowing across the border and something needed to be done. Maybe this will wake some people up in Canada."  

 

Since the possibility of the U.S. adding Canada to the list of bad-boy nations, a flurry of diplomatic measures has been unleashed by the Chretien government in an attempt to forestall the sanction. External Affairs spin doctors have been working overtime to convince the media there is nothing to the cited report.  

 

It remains to be seen how successful those measures will be, but the fact remains that successive Canadian governments have allowed the situation to get out of control.  

 

Unfortunately the government's reaction was to try and stop the U.S. action as opposed to committing to stopping the criminals.  

 

But it is not just the trade in narcotics. It is virtually everything to do with organized crime.  

 

We, as a country, have done precious little to discourage the world's criminals from coming to this country and conducting their illicit activities virtually unimpeded save for the efforts of the undermanned and underfunded police.  

 

Unfortunately the police are just a piece of the justice system.  

 

The boatloads of migrants from the Fujian province in the People's Republic of China demonstrate the same lack of commitment, just in a different area of organized crime.  

 

First off, I take no quarrel with the migrants themselves.  

 

In the same position, who among us would not try to better our position and perhaps try the same thing? But there are a couple of realities here.  

 

As long as we do not come out and demonstrate that the trafficking in human misery will not be tolerated, it will continue.  

 

Equally, as long as we pander to the government of the PRC, they will do nothing to stop it before it gets started.  

 

Let's face it, with the massive military machine of the PRC does anyone really believe these ships could get very far without the cooperation or at least the wilful blindness of their government? The snakeheads who profit from people smuggling know full well how to take advantage of the winds of politics.  

 

The PRC will allow this to go on until they can extract a determination from Canada and the other western democracies to adhere to a "one-China" policy.  

 

As long as we push for recognition of the government of Taiwan, the PRC will allow, if not actively assist, their criminal groups to go about their nefarious business unimpeded.  

 

Our choices are simple. Either we detain illegal migrants until the refugee process can be concluded and either deport or admit the migrants or we knuckle under to the communists and ostracize Taiwan.  

 

To continue in the manner we are will do nothing except increase the problem and we might just as well give up any pretence of control on our sovereignty.

 

  -30-

 

 

 

Primetimecrime current headlines               Columns 1999