Canadian border services ignoring minister, union about guard suspension

Canadian Border Services Agency ignoring protests over the suspension of three Manitoba border guards

WINNIPEG – The Canadian Border Services Agency is ignoring protests over the suspension of three Manitoba border guards who left their posts to help the RCMP arrest a suspect.

Both Public Security Minister Steven Blaney and the head of the border guards union say they haven’t received a response to letters they’ve sent to the agency appealing the suspensions.

A spokesman for Blaney says the minister is concerned because the government expects all law enforcement officers to help apprehend dangerous suspects.

The union has proposed a working group to study the agency’s policy regarding helping other police services.

A spokesman for the border services agency says it cannot comment on specific disciplinary cases and any employee has a right to grieve a decision internally.

The guards left their posts at the Canada-U.S. border at Emerson a few months ago, at the request of the Mounties, to help stake out a kidnapping suspect at a bar less than a kilometre away.

The union said two guards kept watch over several exits while a third went into the bar. The border remained staffed by three other guards on the night shift. The trio who helped the Mounties returned to their posts less than an hour later following the suspect’s arrest.

Following an internal investigation, they were suspended last month without pay for up to 25 days because they left their posts for an “unauthorized purpose.”

Blaney and the union argue the guards were complying with the Criminal Code which compels them to co-operate fully with law enforcement officers.

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