By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
After I redirected my request—possibly I wasn’t using the best contact point—Canada Border Services Agency has responded to my question about how tariffs are applied to imported iPods. Here is the response in its entirety.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) can confirm that MP3 players imported into Canada are generally classified within two tariff items, depending upon their specific features:
- those players that have only audio capabilities are classified in tariff item 8519.81.29 and are subject to a 5% rate of customs duty under the Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) Tariff, and 0% under 15 other preferential tariff treatments covering Canada’s free trade partners and countries eligible for one of Canada’s three development-oriented tariff preference regimes (General Preferential Tariff; Least Developed Country Tariff; and, Caribbean Commonwealth Countries Tariff).
-Those players that also have video capabilities are classified in tariff item 8521.90.90 and are subject to a 6% rate of customs duty under the MFN Tariff and 0% under the 15 other tariff treatments.
However, since these MP3 players can be connected to a computer for the storage and transfer of data (e.g., music, videos, etc.), they may be imported into Canada duty free under tariff item 9948.00.00, regardless of their origin.
This response does not address the specifics of my question, so I asked again: To qualify under 9948, must sellers of iPods and MP3 players collect “end user certificates” from the final consumer?
In response, I was told to refer to the CBSA’s original response. And that leaves a rather important question unanswered.
In other news, Mike Moffatt recently quibbled with the government’s assertion that lower tariffs amounted to special breaks for Chinese companies.
See previously: A tax on imported blankets, The Commons: Ted Menzies challenges everyone to find a tax increase in the budget, A tax on bicycles, baby carriages and iPods, The Great iPod Tax Crisis of 2013, The iPod tax: The finance department responds, Will the Conservatives repeal the iPod tax?, Breaking news: Your imported hockey helmet will cost less, Letters from Justin and Still trying to explain those tariff increases
By Charlie Gillis - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 6:31 PM - 0 Comments
CBSA deal to film immigration raids allows feds to stage-manage a serious issue, writes Charlie Gillis
So why are we suddenly exercised at the idea of camera crews following CBSA officers as they raid construction sites in search of illegal immigrants? Because the suspects might be innocent? Because their alleged transgression doesn’t rise to the level of—I dunno—a guy who tries to play fast and loose with a Money Mart?
The real problem, to my thinking, is how infrequently we get to watch the enforcement arms of the state in action without those agencies filtering the message—and the dust-up over the CBSA deal illustrates the point. To get past the blue-sky planning stage, Force Four Entertainment, the production company behind the project, had to sign an agreement allowing the feds to vet the show to ensure they won’t portray the border agency in a negative light. Which means the finished product is bound to be a whole lot different than if, say, a crew from the fifth estate went along for the raids.
These bargains for access are increasingly common in TV production, and they speak to a growing tendency within law enforcement to co-operate with media only for purposes of self-promotion. To Serve and Protect set the template: it’s the Canadian knockoff of an American show tailored to aggrandize cops. In short, we get one side of the story.
So before we declare immigration raids off limits to the media, let’s remember the public interest underlying the CBSA’s mission—quaint as that might sound. I, for one, would watch a program that juxtaposed the harsh realities of enforcement work against the human plight of Honduran migrants eking out a life in Canada’s underground economy. I doubt I’m going to get that from the production. So if the Minister of Public Safety wants to do me a favour, he’ll swing open the door to more on-scene coverage of border enforcement teams in action, by a wider variety of media, with a lot less stage management. We might see the flaws and excesses of our duly empowered authorities. We might even see their virtues.
All within the bounds of the law, of course: the potential for children to be among those being filmed is troubling (it’s not like they choose to migrate, legally or illegally). So one expects the same careful editing and pixelating on the part of Force Four we get from To Serve and Protect, where minors are conspicuously absent. A spokeswoman for Force Four says its shows will be vetted by lawyers to ensure privacy rights are not violated.
I know: dream on. Nothing about the deal Vic Toews signed off on suggests an interest in public enlightenment. It’s just a bit of politics—some theatre-of-the-living to fill the air on National Geographic channel, whose venerable brand belies the increasing hollowness of its content.
The scandal is not that we’ll see the CBSA raids on such limited terms. It’s that this is the only way we get to see them.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 4:11 PM - 0 Comments
Peter O’Neil reports that the cost to the CBSA of assisting in the production of Border Security is so far unknown.
But the 2011 memo and attached agreement between the CBSA and Force Four Productions also spelled out the operational costs to taxpayers in terms of the role government officials would play. The CBSA would “enjoy de facto executive production” authority, identify “scenarios, sites and storylines,” as well as oversee and control all film shoots.
“This (financial) burden is not insignificant,” CBSA president Luc Portelance said in the proposal that was released through the Access to Information Act. The memo also noted that the Force Four Entertainment pitch to the CBSA was reviewed by an official in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office before getting final approval from Toews.
I asked Mr. Toews’ office for the cost and the CBSA responded as follows.
The documentary show follows the regular day-to-day duties of CBSA employees at the land border, airports, mail centres and inland. The time and effort that CBSA has put forth in support of this production is very worthwhile when we see the value of reaching and educating millions of viewers. Our participating officers are doing their jobs, and the production takes place at no extra costs to our front line operations.
You’ll notice that there isn’t quite an answer there. Perhaps Conservative MP Brian Jean could submit an order paper question about this.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 18, 2013 at 6:37 PM - 0 Comments
The NDP’s Randall Garrison stood and declared the country to be taken aback.
“Canadians across the country are shocked that he personally approved filming immigration raids for reality TV,” Mr. Garrison reported, referring to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. “This is not some episode of Cops. These are real people and real officers doing a dangerous job. Filming is exploitative and can put individuals in danger.”
The producers of Border Security might rather Mr. Garrison describe their show as “a dynamic documentary series that offers viewers a front row seat to high stakes, bizarre reveals, and comical conflicts that are part of everyday life for border security officers,” but “real people and real officers doing a dangerous job” might easily be clipped for the next promotional poster.
“How could the minister be so reckless?” Mr. Garrison wondered. “Will he take responsibility and put an immediate end to this dangerous and offensive PR stunt?”
The New Democrats stood to applaud this query.
The concern here involves the presence of television cameras during the recent arrest of eight migrant workers in British Columbia—part of a reality TV show on the National Geographic channel (home as well of Wicked Tuna and Doomsday Preppers), as formally endorsed by Mr. Toews. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – A dispute involving name tags has sparked a slowdown at the Ambassador…
OTTAWA – A dispute involving name tags has sparked a slowdown at the Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor, Ont., and at the Blue Water Bridge crossing at Sarnia, Ont.
The Canada Border Services Agency says the disruption is the result of work refusals by several officers at those ports of entry.
The CBSA says the border staff taking part in the job action are questioning the health and safety implications of wearing a name tag on their uniform.
In a memo to members dated Dec. 5, Customs and Immigration union president Jean-Pierre Fortin said the union ”vehemently opposes” a new name tag policy. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 12:59 AM - 0 Comments
The Canadian Press reports that directives have been issued to the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency to explain how the agencies can use information when torture might be involved.
As with the directive to CSIS, the instructions from Mr. Toews to the RCMP and the border agency apply to information sharing with foreign government agencies, militaries and international organizations. They say Canada “does not condone the use of torture” and is party to international agreements that prohibit torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
The directives add that “terrorism is the top national security priority” of the government and it is essential that the RCMP and border agency maintain strong relationships with foreign entities and share information with them, as well as with domestic agencies. They say that in “exceptional circumstances” the RCMP or border agency “may need to share the most complete information in its possession,” including information foreign agencies likely obtained through torture, “in order to mitigate a serious risk of loss of life, injury, or substantial damage or destruction of property before it materializes.” “In such rare circumstances, ignoring such information solely because of its source would represent an unacceptable risk to public safety.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 1:44 PM - 0 Comments
Yesterday, the NDP’s Rosane Dore Lefebrve asked Public Safety Minister Vic Toews if he would put new airport surveillance measures on hold until an assessment could be conducted. Mr. Toews assured the New Democrat that “the privacy rights of law-abiding Canadians are respected at all times,” but otherwise avoided answering the question directly.
A few moments later, Liberal MP Scott Simms asked if Mr. Toews would refer the issue to the privacy commissioner. Mr. Toews repeated his assurance and invited Mr. Simms to contact the privacy commissioner if he was concerned.
If the member wants the privacy commissioner to look at any practices inside the CBSA in this respect, I would invite him to make that request. I do not think CBSA has anything to hide.
Today, Mr. Toews seems to have decided to go ahead and do that himself.
A spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says he has told the Canada Border Services Agency to halt audio monitoring until a study of the privacy implications is complete. Julie Carmichael says Toews wants a privacy impact assessment from the border agency and recommendations from the federal privacy commissioner … Carmichael says it is important for agencies to have the right tools to catch smugglers and criminals. But she adds it is equally important that these tools do not unduly infringe on individuals’ privacy.