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Unarmed Customs officers feel vulnerable

MONTREAL, Que. -- Customs officers at Quebec border crossings are sounding alarms about their inability to detain d...


MONTREAL, Que. — Customs officers at Quebec border crossings are sounding alarms about their inability to detain dangerous criminals.

Although the government passed a law three years ago, allowing Customs officers to detain dangerous offenders, officials say they still don’t have the means to do so.

Unlike their counterparts at other Canadian border crossings, Customs officials in Quebec have yet to receive billy clubs and pepper spray.

"We consider it a significant risk to the public’s safety," Serge Charette, national president of the Customs Excise Union Douanes Accise, tells local media. "We lobbied hard to get the new powers and felt it was important to be able to intercept and detain drunk drivers and people with criminal warrants."

Charette’s concerns are shared by many of his colleagues.

One unnamed Customs officer tells local media that "We see the U.S. border guards down the street armed with guns. What do they see that we don’t see every day?"

He adds "Put yourself in our shoes. What do you do if you think a person is dangerous? You say ‘Welcome to Canada.’"


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