Homeless in Vancouver: Canadian Border Service Agency uniform post gets an honourable mention

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      My blogging made the Province newspaper this morning.

      Twelve pages in, underneath a story about a Union Gospel Mission barbeque, there was a small mention of my post about finding Canada Border Security Service guard shirts in an apartment dumpster in the Fairview neighbourhood.

      The Province item repeated the original post as it was reposted on the Georgia Straight’s website. But added that a spokesperson from the CBSA’s Vancouver office had told the Province there would be no explanation before Monday (July 28) how the uniforms ended up in public garbage.

      Agencies need to guard against uniforms falling into public hands

      On Friday I was contacted by an official from the CBSA who was obviously interesting in finding out how the box full of blue shirts, each with embroidered CBSA shoulder patches, ended up where a binner, or anyone else could grab them. I provided the official with more precise details of where I found the shirts.

      Also on Friday Gordon McIntyre, a writer with the Province, got in touch with me and I provided him with the same information I had given to the CSBA.

      The Sunday Province item also added that no one from the CBSA was available to address the issue of someone wearing the uniform shirts for the purpose of impersonating a border guard.

      In my email reply to Mr. McIntyre I described the “CBSA thing” as some kind of procedural lapse but I didn’t think it was so serious.

      But, I guess if members of an extremist group got their hands on them—such as the KLABC (Kitsilano Liberation Army and Book Club)—then there could be heck to pay.

      Otherwise I doubt a bad person could use a CSBA border guard shirt to bluff their way into an apartment building to commit theft (“I’m, uh, here to check passports”) but that’s not the point.

      Having it known the shirts ended up in public garbage where anyone could, and may have, grabbed them has the potential to erode the trust we have in all uniforms.

      Consider if a thief got their hands on a B.C. Hydro jacket. People don’t give a second thought to the sight of B.C. Hydro meter reader roaming on private property. They trust the uniform and that B.C. Hydro rigidly controls access to that uniform.

      In my reply to Mr. McIntyre I related the instance one winter—maybe seven years ago—when I was binning in single family residential lanes in Kitsilano.

      I was stopped by both Vancouver police and B.C. Hydro officials. They were scouring the alleys following a report that some binner was spotted in the area wearing a B.C. Hydro jacket.

      They told me they didn’t want the jacket, they just wanted the guy to take all the patches and markings off.

      Over a decade ago while volunteering for a candidate in a federal election, I discovered that simply adding a plain baseball cap and a clipboard (with paper and pen) to my ensemble greatly improved my chances of getting into apartment buildings to distribute campaign literature. But that’s another story.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.



      It Happens

      Jul 27, 2014 at 7:23pm

      Thieves and serial killers have been using stolen uniforms for ages.