Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Illegal and Contraband Mailing of Drugs and Guns?

"Organized crime groups are and will continue to exploit the legislative gaps in the domestic mail system."
"These changes would support efforts to restrict access to children and youth, and others not legally permitted to possess and consume the drug by sending cannabis through the mail."
"There is also a pressing time frame to resolve this issue."
"The consensus among portfolio partners including PS is that legislative change is an effective way to address the issues that the [Canada Post act] presents for police to address contraband in the domestic … mail system."
2016 Public Safety Canada report
Canada Post employee at Edmonton processing facility. The federal government has decided not to let police search domestic mail, despite internal document indicating officials backed the change    Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun

The governing Liberal Party of Canada just will not have it. They're the ones who make the final decisions about such matters, after all. They may task Canada's criminal investigative arms with ensuring public safety, but this they'll have to accomplish with the restricted tools at their disposal and since the mail is private and thus sacrosanct, that option to intercept suspected deliveries of drugs through the mail is off limits; so saith the government.

The RCMP, along with the Canadian Border Services Agency are in agreement of the benefits in changing current law barring police from intercepting mail moving between domestic addresses. But move the government to agree with their assessment of the value of so doing in certain instances, not likely. Canada is currently in a desperate emergency situation with respect to the illicit market in opioid drugs such as Fentanyl and the emerging appearance of Carfentanil, two powerful, destructive drugs.

The requested change in legislation to allow police with the proper judicial approval to open mail in an interception protocol apprehending the spread of Fentanyl and allied opioids and at the same time put 'stop' to mail exploited by organized crime could also expand to aid in ensuring that legalized cannabis stays out of the hands of children. Public Safety Canada acknowledges the need to combat the opioid epidemic killing unsuspecting and vulnerable drug users when it is cut into other drugs.

Yet the government fails to be convinced that a change in the Canada Post Corporation Act allowing police, search warrants in hand, to open domestic mail and for that reason, is warranted: "no further changes are proposed at this time", according to a spokesman for the Ministry. On the horizon, however are changes to the rules on intercepting mail into Canada from other countries.
Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo. Handout via Canadian Press

Police are now enabled to search international mail under Bill C-37, weighing 30 grams or less representing the potential in weight of 15,000 fatal doses of Fentanyl. Under the new rules, according to the Ministry, interception is now enabled of pill-making equipment as well. Failing to convince the Chiefs of Police Association of Canada that the law preventing officers from searching mail in transit within the local Canada Post system, which they have long lobbied to change, should remain as is.

According to an RCMP report produced in 2012, guns, grenades, a rocket launcher, stun guns, dangerous chemicals and an assortment of drugs have all been shipped by mail. Various government agencies have convened meetings where bureaucrats in Public Safety, the CBSA, the RCMP, Public Services and Procurement Canada, along with the privy-council office have wrapped their heads around the issue.

Which is one encompassing items much beyond illicit opioid shipments in the domestic mail. The need to amend current law has been given impetus by the imminent legalization of recreational marijuana. Police currently are able to react to a tip of mail containing contraband only by seizing it once it is received at the address to which the mail directs it.  For the last several years, the police chiefs' group has passed resolutions on this very issue, each time failing to convince government.

Even the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has stated it would have no major qualms with such a change, as long as police are required to obtain a judge's approval beforehand.

A Canada Post employee climbs into a mail truck. Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press

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