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CBSA raid multiple construction sites in Vancouver, accompanied by reality-TV crews

Catchfire
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Honduran workers detained after a dramatic bust by Canada Border Service agents Wednesday in Vancouver were asked to sign release forms agreeing to be filmed, says the Canadian wife of one of the two men, yet CBSA still won’t confirm whether a reality TV crew was shooting the takedown.

 Diana Thompson said her husband Tulio Renan Avilés Hernandez and the other Honduran national, an 18-year-old named Mario were being held at Vancouver International Airport Thursday morning, but were being moved sometime today to the detention centre downtown. She said they have a hearing in two days and will be detained until then.

She said Avilés Hernandez was asked to sign a release form but was told only that it was to consent to “the camera crew that was there.” She added that her husband was not provided any details about a reality TV show and refused to sign the form.

Canada Border Services agents raided the Porter development on Victoria Drive near 20th Avenue Wednesday searching for illegal migrant workers — all while being shadowed by a camera crew apparently recording footage for a reality TV show. The raid was one of about 10 that reportedly occurred throughout the city.

By mid-morning Thursday, requests to the CBSA to confirm how many raids there were in the city and whether there was a film crew on scene remained unanswered.

Harsha Walia, a spokeswoman for No One is Illegal, a national not for profit organization that advocates for migrant justice, said after speaking with family members she believes at least 29 workers were detained. She said some of them were also picked up at construction sites in Yaletown and one on Granville Street.


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Catchfire
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Catchfire
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COPE: Make Vancouver a sanctuary city

The Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) is outraged by reports that the Canadian Border Services Agency, accompanied by a “reality television” film crew, rounded-up, intimidated, arrested, and detained Vancouver construction workers of varying immigration status.

COPE believes that the City of Vancouver should not issue permits for film productions which involve targeting residents and workers on the basis of immigration status.

At COPE’s recent policy conference, the party membership voted to approve the policy direction that Vancouver should become a Sanctuary City, where residents and workers are guaranteed access to city services irrespective of immigration status and can live without fear of persecution. COPE’s Tim Louis said: “Last month, Toronto City Council voted 37-3 in favour of making Toronto a Sanctuary City. There are 36 sanctuary cities in the United States, and Toronto is the first in Canada. A progressive city council would make Vancouver a Sanctuary City too.”

“We should never allow people who live or work in Vancouver to be persecuted based on citizenship status, and in particular the city should not issue permits for creating entertainment out of such persecution,” said COPE’s Ellen Woodsworth. “As the Harper government tries to further demonize and criminalize migrants, we should do everything in our power to fight back against that agenda, and make Vancouver a safe and welcoming city for everyone.”


Paladin1
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Catchfire please delete my post if it sounds like it will ruin the spirit of your thread.

 

I don't know very much about what is going on in Israel, especially not enough to pick a side to try and champion.

With that disclaimer in mind a little while ago I read a sad story about workers from Palistine trying to cross the border into Israel and being fucked around by 18 and 20 year old "kids" with guns. These mature workers felt harsassed intimidated and bullied by the border guards.

I can't vouch for the veracity of that story but I can start to understand how that might feel cause that's exactly how I feel almost every time I cross the border in to the USA. Young kids on a power trip fucking me and my family off. CBSA employees can be total assholes to you and your family and you have to sit there and take it. If you dare try to stick up for yourself they just get more ignorant and inconvience you with a search which can last hours. You can feel how cocky they are when they speak to you. I have nothing good to say about CBSA. I can't wait to find out if the cameras were there for some obnoxious reality TV show and if so i'd love to see CBSA get in shit for it.


kropotkin1951
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The question now is who authorized the TV crew to follow along. They should be fired immediately. As well who let this show's producers into the holding cells to talk to the people who had been detained and to try to intimidate them into signing releases.


Catchfire
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Well, the show is filming its second season. The CIU, the union for the CBSA, advised against any agents particpating for what should be obvious reasons -- libel, unwanted notoriety which would allow easy targetting from criminal elements, and general professionalism -- back when the show first aired and repeated their concerns after this story. Management thought the show would raise the profile of the CBSA. Congratulations, mission accomplished.

Harper government ideology is all over this story -- arming the CBSA and turning them into cowboys, increased pressure on immigrants, Temporary Foreign Worker program and a speculation-driven real Estate market. Firing those who authorized this is the smallest step in repairing a long line of despicable decisions.


Timebandit
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FWIW, it's not a "reality" program, it's actually classed as a documentary series, and is made by an independent production company.

I have mixed feelings about this.  If the raid was staged for the benefit of the camera crew, that crosses a line - at least, it does as far as my views on how documentarians should conduct themselves ethically.  On the other hand, if this is something that was happening anyway and the production had cleared access to follow them, is that something we want to discourage?  Shouldn't government and law enforcement organizations be open to allowing the media in? 

The release is normal procedure in documentary and is often done on the fly in location shoots.  We are required to obtain permission to use a person's likeness.  This might have been complicated by the detainees being prevented from communicating with the line producer who could have explained what they were doing.  It's hard to know whether or not this is the case.  I don't think there was anything sinister in being asked for a release, however.  The person has a right to say no, and the footage of that person cannot be used in an identifying fashion without a release.


Catchfire
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Timebandit wrote:
FWIW

Yeah, that line by Force Four that it's a "documentary" series is bullshit. I'm not sure what their "independence" has to do with anything, because this kind of series that makes deportation into entertainment is about as despicable as it gets.

And the raid doesn't have to be "staged" for the camera for the cameras to amplify the scenario, as anyone who watches reality television knows. All reports highlight how unusual this raid was, how on one site, two CBSA agents entered and asked for two specific Honduran ex-pats who were quickly located by the foremen. Then, almost immediately, dozens of armed agents swarmed the scenes out of black SUVs and conducted floor-by-floor sweeps. "Excessive" doesn't begin to describe it. One witness called it "sensationalized" -- another "American."

And of course the idea that undocumented workers under detention can properly "consent" to being filmed -- after the fact -- is also absurd and doesn't begin to recognize the power dynamics at play. Force Four is hiding behind what is legal when clearly what is upsetting people is the obvious ethical line they obviously crossed.


kropotkin1951
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The permission for this demeaning treatment of people came straight out of the Minster's office in Ottawa. So I will not only stand by my earlier statement but reiterate it.  Whoever gave the okay for this film shoot needs to be fired. Jason I'm talking about you!!!

This kind of shit is not a documentary it is perverse voyeurism or Perp Porn as I have heard it called. Dehumanizing poor people for entertainment is disgusting and vile.


Catchfire
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Vic Toews is actually the Minister of Public Safety and responsible for the CBSA. But just to be sure I say we fire both him and Kenney...


kropotkin1951
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Sorry but I agree fire them both I was thinking that this related to Immigration.


Timebandit
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No, it's not bullshit.  Under the definitions that the Canada Media Fund works under, this is a documentary series.  Reality is based on constructed situations.  Documentary follows events that are taking place.  Unless events were staged for the camera, it's not reality tv, even if you don't like the focus and the tone of the project. 

And yes, people behave differently in front of cameras.  That was the case 50 years in advance of the invention of the reality genre.  If that's all it takes to make the form of documentary null, then nobody ever made one.

Again, if the raid was staged or altered to suit the needs of the show - or more specifically, if the producers REQUEST it - then this crosses a line.  I agree that this is unethical.  But we don't know one way or the other whether that's the case.

As to the release - it is not the line producer's job to make a determination whether that release constitutes meaningful consent.  That's the determination of the legal counsel of the production company and must be approved by the legal counsel acting for the insurance company who provides coverage for this sort of thing.  It's a rigorous process, and situations that don't measure up aren't allowed to be included in the finished program.  However, the line producer's job is to ask.

It's not unusual to ask someone for a release after the fact, either, especially with on the fly location shooting.  If, for example, I walk into a store and do some shooting, I don't know in advance who's going to be there.  But if I shoot someone in a way that they can be identified, I need a release.  I will have to ask after the fact.  Now, I get that we're talking about a much more serious and fraught circumstance - but that doesn't change that the crew couldn't have known ahead of time who they'd be shooting, and that it would be worth the line producer's job not to ask.

In many respects, following their subjects is no different than me following the two Shaolin monks I did a doc on all over China.  I got access, I shot what happened.  That's how you make a documentary.  You might object to the subject matter and the treatment - and have at 'er, I might agree with you on the majority of your points.  But it's still a documentary, and I'm attempting to explain a few things about the process that you clearly don't know.


Catchfire
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Force Four now conveniently describes this "documentary" series -- on their website they now list it as "Docu-tainment." So: yeah, bullshit. 

Here are the other shows this production company makes to show their commitment and dedication to strong documentary series:

Seed wrote:
As a young man Harry was young, dumb, and full of … well, sperm. To make extra cash, he went to a sperm bank, posing as an Ivy League student. At $250 a pop, Harry was able to help fund his nights of partying.

The Bachelor Canada wrote:
The Bachelor Canada is based on the perennially successful, The Bachelor franchise, currently in its 16th season on Citytv and OMNI Television.

Million Dollar Neighbourhood wrote:
Each week, financial expert Preet Banerjee and psychologist Dr. Joti Samra will present the community with epic money-making and cash saving challenges related to food, housing, transportation, employment and much more.

Bull. Shit.

Timebandit wrote:
In many respects, following their subjects is no different than me following the two Shaolin monks I did a doc on all over China.  I got access, I shot what happened.  That's how you make a documentary.

TB, I've seen your work and as I'm sure you know, it's very good. But the above comment is absolutely ludicrous. Following two monks who gave prior consent is nothing -- nothing -- like asking detained refugees for consent in a holding cell after they've already been filmed, rounded-up, intimidated and handcuffed. Incidentally, it is possible for workers who don't have legal authority to work to also be refugee claimants. How do you suppose consent works in those cases?

And of course, the whole premise of the show is absolutely repugnant. Filming the dedtruction of families for enterdocutainment. Despicable.


kropotkin1951
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Timebandit wrote:

But it's still a documentary, and I'm attempting to explain a few things about the process that you clearly don't know.

Money mouth

I actually understand the process reasonable well.  I also understand that giving a line producer access to people who have been taken into custody is coercive and reeks of totalitarianism.  These immigrants are expected to understand that in no way will this effect their immigration hearing.  Do you know anything about Honduras where these people come from?  Thinking they would not be intimidated is absurd IMO given the corruption in the fascist state they come from.

According to your very general definition of documentary Goebbels was a documentary producer. This is Perp Porn and serves the Minister's get tough on immigrants political message. The government hand in hand with a film maker to push an agenda is not a documentary as far as I am concerned although I am absolutely sure that you are right that it fits under the funding formula for documentaries.  You know the business well so could you ball park for us how much taxpayer money was given to this production company to film this propaganda.


Timebandit
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Catchfire:  Thanks for the compliment.

Yes, Force Four makes programming that isn't documentary as well.  So what?  I've got two dramatic features in development and a lifestyle series I'm pushing.  Doesn't mean that the documentaries I make are any less documentaries.  The fact is, this has been classed as and funded via CMF as a doc series since the get-go. 

There are a number of marketing terms used around documentary these days.  Docu-soap, docu-tainment, yadda, yadda.  However, they do fall under the documentary umbrella. 

Regarding my doc following monks - yes, I got their permission in advance.  I did not get permission from everyone they encountered on the trip - those had to be done at the time, usually after they'd been shot interacting.  It's kind of the same, although I did note that the situation was exponentially more serious and problematic.  But if that's the subject matter of the program, I can't see a way around it in any practical sense.  You have to ask, and you don't always know what's going to happen in advance, or to whom.

Again, I'm not arguing for or against the premise of the show.  Just talking about genre and how certain production procedures are handled and why.

kropotkin:  I don't know if a line producer was given access to the detainees or not, and neither do you.  All we know for sure is that they were asked if they would sign releases and did not understand what they were for.  Would an LP have been able to explain it but not given the opportunity?  Maybe.  We really don't know.

I don't know about Honduras, but I can tell you that it's very difficult to get people to sign releases in China, less so in Costa Rica, and not at all difficult in many other places.  So I do understand that culture can certainly colour such a request.  However, I think there were bigger factors in play in this situation.

Nice Godwin, too.  Look, there are different types of doc films.  We think all docs should be balanced by definition.  They're not.  Some go as far as propaganda, some fall short of it.  Michael Moore often employs propaganda-light tactics - and his docs are what I tend to call "advocacy docs".  They, by design, do not have balance, but also don't say things that are untrue (or at least, not knowingly, we hope).  Gaslands was another advocacy piece, won all sorts of doc prizes.  I don't care to make docs of that kind, but I'm also not going to start refusing to call them documentaries.

We also don't know that the government has any kind of editorial control of the project.  It would surprise me if they did - it would actually make the program ineligible for the funding it receives, for one thing.  I don't think, in any case, it's an assumption we can make with much confidence - unless you know something I don't. 


6079_Smith_W
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There are enough people who think that news programming is a complete fabrication.

I don't see how it is that much of a stretch to accept that something can be subjective (and really, everything is) and still be documentary.

For that matter, something can be unethical and still be considered reportage.

Thanks for clarifying the technical points, Timebandit.

 

 

 


kropotkin1951
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The reports I have heard said that the permission was granted straight from the Minister's office.  No I doubt they had editorial control. Who needs it when you know the result is going to portray people you want to vilify in a negative light.  As for getting the release signed while in detention what else is possible.  They didn't do it before they were taken into custody and they are still in custody ergo the LP must have tried to get signatures while they were in custody.  I may be wrong by placing them in cells they might just have been in the back of a police van but it is the same situation never the less.

The Honduras military and elite were the beneficiary of a US and Canadian backed coup to remove a pesky elected government that was limiting the rights of mining companies and sweat shop manufacturers to screw the workers and environment.  Indigenous leaders in the mining areas where Canadian companies dominate have been murdered and arrested and those locals don't much like Canada these days. I'll let a spokesperson from Honduras lay it out for you in more detail. Goldcorp by the way is headquartered in Vancouver. So after we destroy their country and they try to escape the devastation by coming to our country we then debase them with this "documentary."

Quote:

CDA: In the case of Valle de Siria, where the Canadian mining company Goldcorp is active, the company has essentially come to destroy our natural resources, to divide families in our communities. Valle de Siria is a community in which people lived off of agriculture and raising animals before the arrival of Goldcorp. Once Goldcorp became active in Valle de Siria, through the project of San Martín, all of this [agriculture and farming] went under.

It is in this sense that the presence of Canadian mining companies in Honduras, and specifically in this case of Valle de Siria, has caused massive damage to the population and the natural resources. It’s hardly obvious that Canadian capital has come to develop our communities; instead, they have caused enormous damage.

It’s a question of Canadian transnational capital operating in our territories and lacking respect for the dignity of the men and women who live in Valle de Siria.

These companies create a false image of what they want to do in our territories – hiding the fact that they disrespect the dignity of our peoples, disrespect our human rights, impose cultures that are not ours, and rob our natural resources.

All of this is in order to strengthen the economic interests of Canadian transnationals.

In synthesis, we can say that the presence of Canadian mining companies has brought destruction and death to our community.

...

CDA: The deputies that have assumed their positions in Congress for the 2010-2014 session have said that they are going to reopen all the mining concessions that exist in Honduras. We have access to the entire database, and all the concessions that exist in Honduras are for Canadian mining companies. And so we are saying that this is the new Canadian colonization of Honduras, replacing the Spanish and the Americans in this case.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/devastating-impact-of-canadian-mining-in-ho...


Catchfire
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Not even the producers think it's documentary, Winston. Not until this story sprang up. And it's not like they have some docs and some reality shows. They are exclusively a reality-TV show production company. Yet this show is now documentary. If you buy that, bridges, etc.

Anyway, apparently the buck definitely stops at Toews: Toews approved reality TV show filming B.C. immigration raids


kropotkin1951
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It appears that I was wrong to concede that the government did not have editorial control.

Quote:

The documents outlining the agreement between Force Four and the CBSA also lay out how a potentially negative portrayal of the CBSA would be mitigated through a number of pre-broadcast federal approvals.

The documents state that the CBSA must approve every segment on the program, and can hold them for a variety of reasons, including privacy violations or national security.

"All rough footage and final episodes are reviewed and approved by the CBSA so that factual inaccuracies, disclosure of restricted information, classified, or law enforcement sensitive materials are removed from aired episodes," the document says.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/03/16/bc-borde...


epaulo13
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..done at the same time the gov is attacking refugee health care.

Young resident doctors lead a nation-wide protest against the cuts to refugee healthcare

Healthcare providers, led by young resident doctors, mobilized across the country on December 15 to oppose the next phase of cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program, which dramatically restrict healthcare  coverage for some refugees. On December 14, Immigration Minister Kenney released the first list of 27 “safe”countries, from which refugee claimants will be fast-tracked with no right of appeal and who will receive no healthcare coverage, except for conditions deemed a threat to public health and safety. 
Healthcare professionals—from physicians to midwives to pharmacists—are calling on the federal government to reinstate equitable healthcare coverage for all refugees. 
 
Over 80 healthcare providers gathered for a candlelight vigil at Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square to demand that the Interim Federal Health Program be immediately and fully restored. They collected signatures on a 6 foot holiday card, as well as individual holiday cards, addressed to Minister Kenney calling for a reversal of the cuts to refugee healthcare and continued their protest into the crowded Eaton Centre....

http://www.doctorsforrefugeecare.ca/further-reading-survey.html



6079_Smith_W
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@ CF #17

Catchfire, I haven't even seen this program, and I didn't say anything to indicate that I did.

And from what I have read about this story, I don't like it at all.

I was just pointing out that other similar broadcast formats - specifically the news - can also be made in an unethical and manipulative way, and tell lies and we still consider it "the news".

I don't know about you, but I don't think I have ever watched a documentary, even a good one, and assumed that I was being told the absolute truth.

If I understand right, TB's point was that "documentary" in this context is a technical term, not an evaluation of style, ethics or veracity.

 

 


Timebandit
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Catchfire wrote:

Not even the producers think it's documentary, Winston. Not until this story sprang up. And it's not like they have some docs and some reality shows. They are exclusively a reality-TV show production company. Yet this show is now documentary. If you buy that, bridges, etc.

Anyway, apparently the buck definitely stops at Toews: Toews approved reality TV show filming B.C. immigration raids

I think it's debatable that the producers don't think it's a doc series, Catchfire.  I have heard it described as a doc series at several tv markets from a variety of quarters.  Unless you have some evidence to support your position that it wasn't considered a documentary prior to now,  I don't think that's a fair assumption.

Force Four has been doing a lot of format work and reality genre in the last several years, but they did, actually, start out as a documentary production house.  However, I still don't think what other programming they make is relevant to the definition of this particular program. 

 


Timebandit
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kropotkin1951 wrote:

It appears that I was wrong to concede that the government did not have editorial control.

Quote:

The documents outlining the agreement between Force Four and the CBSA also lay out how a potentially negative portrayal of the CBSA would be mitigated through a number of pre-broadcast federal approvals.

The documents state that the CBSA must approve every segment on the program, and can hold them for a variety of reasons, including privacy violations or national security.

"All rough footage and final episodes are reviewed and approved by the CBSA so that factual inaccuracies, disclosure of restricted information, classified, or law enforcement sensitive materials are removed from aired episodes," the document says.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/03/16/bc-borde...

But that isn't quite the same as editorial control.  They aren't dictating story. 

Yes, access would have been granted through the Ministry.  So what?

Is part of the issue that a crew was given access at all? Does that mean that media shouldn't have access to law enforcement agencies?  Wouldn't that limit transparency even further?  Shouldn't we be advocating for more access?


kropotkin1951
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Driving along on raids of marginalized people is not access to look at any justice issues it is prostituting them for profit. 

I guess we are now into semantics. If the government gets to look at everything filmed and tell the producers what they can and cannot use then I see that as editorial control. If you see it as something different then we will just have to disagree.


Timebandit
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Or it could mean that you don't understand the definition. 

There are certain things that the agency, per the agreement, can veto.  That would be restricted to those things spelled out in the agreement.  This doesn't mean that they have control over the story itself.  It also would have had to pass the CMF's rigorous definition of editorial control - neither broadcaster nor other agency is allowed that if the producer is being funded through the fund. 

So, let me know if I have this right:  No documentary crew should ever do a ride-along with any form of law enforcement, ever? 


kropotkin1951
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Let me get this straight you are saying that if I am a journalist and want to write an article on the CBSA I would still have editorial control even though I must submit every word I write to the agency and they get to tell me what I can and cannot print.  You can call it what you want and we will have to disagree because the CBSA gets to edit the content ergo they have control over the content.

Please stop telling me I don't understand when I in fact I just don't agree with you. 

I do not think that camera crews should be riding along with police or other agencies to film people interacting with them.  If a journalist wants to ride along for background that is fine by me.  But me, my fellow citizens and immigrants should not have a camera shoved in our face at the very moment that we are in a stressful situation.  Its Perp Porn and I don't like porn. If I have to deal with the police I don't want a fucking camera filming me and I don't care whether or not they have to get my permission to show my face. The act of filming is already invasive and demeaning and stressful.


grumpydigger
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we must put a stop to this type of foolishness immediately.

This type of United States  garbage television sanctioned by the Canadian government should be insulting to every citizen.


Timebandit
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Actually, the way the agreement is worded, kropotkin, there are things they can veto, like identifying undercover agents, and things they can't.  It's more restrictive than I would have agreed to, but not all of it is unreasonable.

No access to agencies like CBSA means less transparency.  I don't think that's a good thing.  There's also the idea that we censor media before the fact - I can't see that as a positive, either. 


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Let me get this straight you are saying that if I am a journalist and want to write an article on the CBSA I would still have editorial control even though I must submit every word I write to the agency and they get to tell me what I can and cannot print.  You can call it what you want and we will have to disagree because the CBSA gets to edit the content ergo they have control over the content.

 

I doubt there's anything in that agreement that gives CBSA grounds to censor if they get filmed breaking the law (certainly not), or doing something else which makes them look bad, though there have been enough examples of "security" being used to cover a lot of things. So if the crew did happen to catch something like that I suppose it would be back on them and the producers to decide exactly what their job was and if it is worth blowing their whole program out of the water.

I suppose that is the quandry that all many embedded reporters are in. And how much leeway they would have to turn a blind eye to that would be something Timebandit would know more about.

And no, I'm not in favour of jamming cameras in the faces of people in miserable situations either, especially since this is not news, but entertainment.

I have done a few of those ride-along stories, with the RCMP and with Natural Resources, and the most interesting thing I learned was probably something they did not want people to know - that in a small detatchment all it takes is one drunk driving call to shut down their entire operation for three or four hours. Those second breathalyzer tests take a long time, and during that time the whole region was unpoliced and backup was a long way away.

Inevitably you have to deal with people who are in difficult situations and stick that proverbial camera in their faces - like having to interview someone who has been charged with sexual assault. The question is whether there is a just reason for it, and whether, as in the case of federal immigration policy, there is a whole political side to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Catchfire
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grumpydigger wrote:
we must put a stop to this type of foolishness immediately.

Thank you for cutting to the quick of this despicable, appalling and morally repugnant scenario, grumpydigger. It's not ambiguous -- its exploitative and disgusting at every point. And it needs to be stopped, and those responsible should be fired.


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

NDP MLAs want TV show filming immigration raids out of Vancouver

Elmore said that the show should draw attention to the realities of temporary foreign workers in Canada, of which there are more than 60,000 in British Columbia and nearly half a million across the country.

“They are often very vulnerable, working in the underground economy,” she said. “Those are my concerns. I think if we are inviting workers to come and do necessary and important work in Canada they should be treated respectfully and have a pathway to immigration.”


http://www.straight.com/news/362951/ndp-mlas-want-tv-show-filming-immigr...


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