Sarah Schmidt tries to figure out what the cuts will mean to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The Customs and Immigration Union says border services cuts mean it will be harder to intercept “hardened criminals such as sexual predators.” A letter from aboriginal leaders seems to justify the elimination of the National Aboriginal Health Organization, but ITK leader Mary Simon quibbles. And in addition to the humans who will be laid off, dogs are also being put out of work.
Nineteen of the 72 dogs used by the Canadian Border Services Agency across the country, which are trained to sniff out guns, cash and drugs, were given their pink slips and will be put up for adoption, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ office confirmed Friday. “We expect the CBSA to use the most effective tools for each job. Detector dogs are a great tool in the right circumstances, but they will no longer be used when there is a better tool available. To be clear, all drug detector dogs at land border crossings will remain in place,” Toews’ press secretary Julie Carmichael told the Star.
According to reports from across the country, CBSA dog handlers had tears in their eyes when they got the news that their four-legged partners were being shown the door. Jason McMichael, first national vice-president of the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU), told the Star that the decision has serious consequences. “Taking away tools such as the detector dog service will make smuggling easier. It will result in more guns and drugs on our street,” McMichael said, noting that Ottawa is also throwing away the money it cost to train these dogs.