Is the Harper government now in the reality TV business? - Macleans.ca

Is the Harper government now in the reality TV business?

The Conservatives won’t say how much Border Security costs taxpayers

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Peter O’Neil reports that the cost to the CBSA of assisting in the production of Border Security is so far unknown.

But the 2011 memo and attached agreement between the CBSA and Force Four Productions also spelled out the operational costs to taxpayers in terms of the role government officials would play. The CBSA would “enjoy de facto executive production” authority, identify “scenarios, sites and storylines,” as well as oversee and control all film shoots.

“This (financial) burden is not insignificant,” CBSA president Luc Portelance said in the proposal that was released through the Access to Information Act. The memo also noted that the Force Four Entertainment pitch to the CBSA was reviewed by an official in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office before getting final approval from Toews.

I asked Mr. Toews’ office for the cost and the CBSA responded as follows.

The documentary show follows the regular day-to-day duties of CBSA employees at the land border, airports, mail centres and inland. The time and effort that CBSA has put forth in support of this production is very worthwhile when we see the value of reaching and educating millions of viewers. Our participating officers are doing their jobs, and the production takes place at no extra costs to our front line operations.

You’ll notice that there isn’t quite an answer there. Perhaps Conservative MP Brian Jean could submit an order paper question about this.