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Canada to immigrants: get ready for your unwanted close-up!

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A series of exploitative moves by the federal government has undermined its claims to protect the privacy and dignity of immigrants.

Source: Toronto Star

Lots of good news these days if you’re hoping to break into show biz: British music mogul Simon Cowell is now accepting YouTube auditions for his global talent search. And the news is even better if you’re a newcomer to Canada and are yearning to be discovered. Merely through your presence on Canadian soil, you stand an excellent chance of landing on the latest hit show, “Ottawa’s Got Talent.” That exuberant clicking and whirring of camera lenses across the land is our federal government seeking out people with interesting immigration situations to help burnish the Harper team’s image and become media stars at the very same time.

In case you’ve missed out on these exciting developments, here’s a recap. A couple of weeks ago, armed agents of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) conducted raids on Vancouver construction sites, arresting and interrogating undocumented migrant workers under the eye of cameras filming for a commercial television series. That reality show about the CBSA’s work, Border Security, was personally approved by none other than Public Safety Minister Vic Toews himself. In response to criticisms of the show as exploitative and sensationalistic, he has defended the immigration-raid filmings as duly respecting privacy laws (on the premise that just-arrested detainees will freely and lucidly consent to have their arrest footage used for broadcasting).

On another front, as the Canadian Council for Refugees recently reported, since 2011 the CBSA has been fine-tuning a website called “Wanted by the CBSA.” That site provides names, birthdates and mugshots of people being sought for deportation in order to solicit public tips about their whereabouts and publicize CBSA successes at locating them. Originally focussed on violators of human or international rights, the program has now expanded its eligibility criteria for featured criminals due to “difficulty in receiving a sufficient number of referrals from the regions for consideration and inclusion on its website.” Plans for an energetic public relations and media campaign to publicize the program appear to be in the works.

Read more: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/03/25/canada_to_immigrants_get_ready_for_your_unwanted_closeup.html

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