Bob Rae, MP, Toronto Centre.
I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with Canada's border policy.
The recent detainment of the PG rated film Patrick 1.5 at the border, causing possibly thousands of dollars in damages to local arts in Ottawa, is the most recent example of a long history of anti-gay censorship at the Canadian border.
I have grown up with many examples of this type of prejudice from the Canadian government and there comes a point where you're almost used to it, where you expect it. This incident woke me up. I am here to say that in 2009, this discrimination will not stand.
The entire system needs to be changed. I subscribe to the Border Services list of admissible titles by email. This list is published quarterly and shows what titles were reviewed at the border and what is admissible and what is not. The decision to review these films is made by one individual and the people who make the decision to ban the items are not held accountable for their actions. No reason is ever given for not allowing the items into Canada, they simply don't arrive.
I wrote to Border Services to obtain a copy of the list of items not allowed into Canada, it is not my intention to break the law by attempting to import a banned film. I was told that this list is not made available to the public. I asked for back copies of the quarterly report of admissible items, I was told this information too is not made available to the public.
By giving an individual the power to censor and then not holding them remotely accountable, the Canadian govenment is doing a disservice to the Canadian people and allowing anti-gay discrimination to continue. I encourage you, as my member of parliament, to review these policies.