Work­ers es­corted away dur­ing Bor­der Ser­vices probe at Van­cou­ver horse track

The Prince George Citizen - - Local -

VAN­COU­VER — Sev­eral peo­ple were re­moved form a Van­cou­ver horse rac­ing track this week as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Canada Bor­der Ser­vices Agency.

Bor­der ser­vices agents ar­rived at the park, owned by Great Cana­dian Gam­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, at about 6 a.m. Mon­day, said a news re­lease from the Hast­ings Race­course.

A num­ber of peo­ple em­ployed and su­per­vised by var­i­ous horse own­ers and train­ers were es­corted off the site, and none of those who were re­moved is af­fil­i­ated with or em­ployed by Great Cana­dian, the re­lease said.

David Milburn, pres­i­dent of the Horse­man’s Benev­o­lent and Pro­tec­tive As­so­ci­a­tion of B.C., said a well-or­ga­nized group of peo­ple wear­ing black jack­ets de­scended on the race­track and hand­cuffed peo­ple. The group in­cluded of­fi­cers with bor­der ser­vices and the B.C. Gam­ing Pol­icy and En­force­ment Branch, Milburn said.

“They ap­pear to be know­ing who they were go­ing for, so they weren’t just walk­ing up and ques­tion­ing peo­ple,” he said. “They had their tar­gets... and they went about putting their tar­gets in hand­cuffs. It was a roundup.”

A state­ment from the bor­der ser­vices agency said it was con­duct­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions at the track re­lated to the Im­mi­gra­tion and Refugee Pro­tec­tion Act.

The Cana­dian Bor­der Ser­vices Agency says it con­ducts en­force­ment ac­tions when it is be­lieved that a con­tra­ven­tion of the Cus­toms Act or the Im­mi­gra­tion and Refugee Pro­tec­tion Act has oc­curred. The state­ment says it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to pro­vide fur­ther in­for­ma­tion while the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der­way. It didn’t say if the peo­ple re­main in cus­tody.

Milburn said the ar­rests took place on a busy train­ing day and they were dis­rup­tive.

“It was the type of roundup or raid that was rem­i­nis­cent of some­thing out of ICE that you see in the (United) States, not here,” he said.

Those ar­rested were the “for­eign-worker va­ri­ety of in­di­vid­u­als,” he said, adding they didn’t ar­rest any of the reg­u­lars who had worked there for years.

Train­ers can’t hire un­li­cenced help, let alone peo­ple not al­lowed to work in Canada, he said.

“If some­one has done some­thing illegal, we are op­posed. But the mem­bers rely on Gam­ing Pol­icy and En­force­ment Branch for the li­cenc­ing, so train­ers have done noth­ing wrong,” Milburn said.

They had their tar­gets... and they went about putting their tar­gets in hand­cuffs. It was a roundup.

— David Milburn

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