Canada: Timing of investigation of 'rogue' B.C. official leaves horse racing official asking tough questions - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaTiming of investigation of 'rogue' B.C. official leaves horse racing official asking tough questions

12:16  23 august  2019
12:16  23 august  2019 Source:   vancouversun.com

Mass arrests at the track: 'It felt like we weren't in Canada for a moment'

Mass arrests at the track: 'It felt like we weren't in Canada for a moment' A dawn raid and mass arrests by the Canada Border Services Agency at Hastings Racecourse are not unusual actions for border agents, a Vancouver immigration lawyer said. Up to 26 backstretch workers were led away in restraints from the racetrack by CBSA officers on Monday. “I’ve been trying to follow up on that and get gritty with the facts,” said lawyer Richard Kurland. “The view from 10,000 metres is simple: CBSA has engaged in group arrests across Canada over many years. “Typically, CBSA will engage in group arrests to scoop failed refugee claimants, people who have outstanding arrest warrants, or illegal workers.

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Timing of investigation of 'rogue' B.C. official leaves horse racing official asking tough questions © NICK PROCAYLO Several people were arrested Monday at the stables of Vancouver's Hastings Racecourse.

Revelations that the investigation into an inspector at B.C.’s g aming policy and enforcement branch began last fall is raising troubling questions about the timing of Monday’s immigration raids at Hastings Racecourse.

In an emailed statement late Thursday, an official with B.C. Ministry of Attorney General said the investigation began in October after a complaint was made to the ministry, which includes the gaming enforcement branch. It said the branch immediately began an internal investigation and, after uncovering some information, took the matter to the federal government’s Canada Border Services Agency for assistance.

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It was border services that then led the investigation and raided the race track.

Deportation hearings conducted by adjudicators with the Immigration and Refugee Board on Wednesday were told that many of the workers scooped up by border services had paid between $600 and $1,000 to a gaming enforcement branch inspector who is “under investigation” and were apparently promised the proper documentation to work in Canada.

Timing of investigation of 'rogue' B.C. official leaves horse racing official asking tough questions © Handout Mexican stable worker David (left), one of several people who were arrested Monday at the stables of Vancouver’s Hastings Racecourse, with trainer Craig MacPherson (right) and an unidentified jockey on a race-winning horse in Vancouver in an undated photo.

The majority of those Mexican workers had come to Canada and claimed to have received the B.C. licences, required to work at race tracks, from the inspector under investigation around the time racing season began in April of 2019, or later. To get the licences, they are supposed to be required to show proof, such as a work permit, that they are allowed to work in Canada.

Immigration hearings told B.C. official under investigation for issuing racetrack licences

Immigration hearings told B.C. official under investigation for issuing racetrack licences Immigration hearings for seven of the migrant workers arrested at Hasting racetrack heard Wednesday that the B.C. government official who issued them credentials is under investigation. 

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At least one B.C. licence was given to a worker in June, nine months after the Attorney General’s office said the investigation began.

David Milburn, a lawyer, horse owner-trainer and president of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association of B.C., is asking questions.

“I want to know what (border services) and (gaming enforcement) knew, when they knew it and if they knowingly allowed this rogue agent to give these licences,” he said.

Milburn has criticized the “aggressive tactics” used by border services officers and the manner in which the workers were arrested. “Those young people were allowed to be in Canada. While they may have committed a violation of the Immigration Act, they were taken down like gang members.”

CBSA has not replied to any questions posed by Postmedia about the arrests, the timing or nature of their investigation, or the identity of the inspector under investigation.

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Thursday’s statement from the Attorney General spokesperson said border services “led and directed enforcement action at Hastings Racecourse.”

The statement also said the gaming enforcement branch has “taken steps to secure the integrity of licensing and registration at Hastings Racecourse.”

Milburn doesn’t buy it.

“They’ve taken steps to ensure the integrity of licensing?” he said. “Where were these steps to protect the integrity of licensing during the investigation in March, April and as late as June when some of these licences were issued and caused these young persons to be arrested, be held in custody and now sent back to Mexico.”

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