Force Four Entertainment issues statement on Border Security: Canada’s Front Line

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      Vancouver's Force Four Entertainment issued today (March 22) the following statement on Border Security: Canada’s Front Line, which recently made headlines after Canada Border Service Agency immigration raids were filmed by the show's cameras:

      There have been complete mischaracterizations and false information reported this past week about Border Security: Canada’s Front LineBorder Security is a documentary series – not a reality series and in absolutely no way are any situations orchestrated for the cameras. We only film events that are already taking place – and that would be taking place even if the camera wasn’t present.

      No footage from the CBSA enforcement action on March 13th has ever been used in any television program or released publicly in any way. The names and faces of these men have not been shown to anyone by the Border Security producers, Force Four Entertainment, the National Geographic Channel or the CBSA.  However, these individuals have been identified in the media by themselves in interviews and press conferences, and by activists.

      Very strict controls are in place to ensure that privacy rights are protected, and that only those people who agree to be on camera are identifiable if they are included in a program. Episodes go through a minimum of five layers of scrutiny before they are broadcast to make sure that no one’s rights are violated, no laws are broken, and no CBSA investigations or national security issues are compromised. Just because something is filmed doesn’t mean the footage will end up in the program. The identities of the individuals detained last week were only revealed by the detainees themselves to various news outlets.

      Border Security: Canada's Front Line is currently in production of its second season. No episodes for the second season have been completed, much less aired on television.

      We are proud of the series we’re making and the insight it has given millions of Canadians into the work of the Canada Border Services Agency.

      The following addresses specific questions and inaccurate information that has been reported about the series and last week’s event.

      About the Series

      • Border Security is a documentary – not a reality series.
        • The production does not influence events.
        • No situations are ‘created’ for the cameras.
        • We only film events that are already taking place – and that would take place even if the cameras weren’t present.
        • We don’t interfere or otherwise participate in the events we film. We do not speak to the officers, or the people they are interacting with, until after the examination is finished. This is strictly enforced by the CBSA and is dictated by our agreement with them. This is much more restrictive than the conditions under which most documentaries film.
        • Subject to national security, investigation and prosecution-related restrictions, final editorial control rests with the producers by written agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency (the “CBSA”).
        • Thirteen episodes of Border Security have aired since last September, telling sixty-four separate stories. Only three of these 64 stories involved Inland Enforcement, the team we were with on March 13, 2013.

      Production Process

      • Very strict controls are in place to ensure that privacy rights are protected, and that only those people who agree to be on camera are identifiable if their stories are included in an episode.
        • Episodes go through a minimum of five layers of scrutiny before they are broadcast to make sure that no one’s rights are violated, no laws are broken, and no CBSA investigations or national security issues are compromised.
        • Just because something is filmed doesn’t mean it will end up in the program.  
        • The footage of this particular event has not been put in a program or broadcast anywhere.

      About the Incident

      • In the event that took place last week, the CBSA’s Inland Enforcement team was pursuing one individual who is alleged to have repeatedly entered the country illegally, had a significant criminal history, and was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.  
        • In the course of trying to apprehend him, CBSA officers went to the job site where he was working. Our crew was following the story of his apprehension only.
        • It was a coincidence that seven other people who were alleged to be working illegally were on that job site.
        • There was no violence, no one had a camera put in their face, and no one ever attempted to push the camera away as has been stated.  
        • There was only one job site investigated that day.
        • Our crew consisted of two people.
        • Our crew never went to the homes of the detainees, nor tried to film the detainees anywhere other than at the construction site
        • The production did not and has not identified any of those people, although some have subsequently conducted interviews and been shown by other media.

      Release Protocol

      • Our director did not speak to any of the detained men until they were in custody at a CBSA facility. After explaining the program to them, the director asked six of the eight men arrested if they would sign a release.
        • To avoid any sense of pressure or coercion, no CBSA personnel or camera crew were present for this encounter. This is our standard procedure.
        • The releases were provided in Spanish; our release is translated into 16 different languages, and includes a short plain language summary on the first page.
        • Of the six men who were asked, three signed releases. One man requested a Spanish translator and this was provided.
      • From the beginning of the series, we and the CBSA agreed that the show would never use any stories or footage of refugee claimants.  And we haven’t.  We are never informed of who is or isn’t a refugee claimant; these stories are simply never made available to us.    




      Mar 22, 2013 at 11:29am

      It's still government-aided propaganda, a tool to divide and a tool to soften us up to the presence of uniformed authority and control.

      Where's Vic Toews' statement?

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      Mar 22, 2013 at 11:37am

      I, for one, am glad they sent this guy packing. Otherwise it is a slap in the face to all the honest, hardworking immigrants who follow the rules.

      Having said that, they should bring an Employment Standards officer and a CRA trust compliance officer when they go to job sites, so that the unscrupulous employers hiring these folks can be punished as well.

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      Mar 22, 2013 at 11:53am

      1. It is not a documentary. Documentaries aren't a weekly show.
      2. You had more than 1 camera. You just happened to have 10 extra SUV's filled with Border Security and a full film crew on hand even though you were going to film one guy! ...and a detention centre ready to process people....

      You also forgot to mention that one person who signed the release claims he did so under duress and that he has since revoked that release.

      Oh, but I believe your version....Yeah, sure......

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      Mar 22, 2013 at 12:00pm

      I am glad that Force Four has issued a statement to correct all the misleading reports about this incident. You would think that a trained reporter from the Canadian Press and major newspapers such as the Globe and Mail and TV stations would check their facts first before publicizing a story. Talk about grandstanding for higher ratings! I believe the border guards are doing a great job and should keep up the good work. First, there were outcries about bringing in foreign workers to work in the northern mines, now there are outcries from people because
      we are harassing foreign workers. The employees of the government are paid by taxes that come out of your pocket. Why not do your best to support and assist them instead of always looking for fault.

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      angel D

      Mar 22, 2013 at 12:01pm

      wait, is that Harpers name in the fine print?? This statement reeks like Vic Toews' sweat, was his hand the one penning this??

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      Mar 22, 2013 at 12:03pm

      Last week it was reported that ForceFour doesn't turn a camera on any individual until they receive their permission.

      Obviously, the truth is less decent than that. They film people - then go to them for permission to use the footage.

      With or without any border officials present for this permission requesting stage, the people have already been filmed and are in a position of being in duress.

      It's not a documentary when the government of Canada is acting as producer and is also funding the process. That's propaganda. The lowest form yet of "reality" tv.

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      Harold Smith

      Mar 22, 2013 at 12:07pm

      Just stop what you are doing. It is crap. You are sustaining the agenda of blaming those with little or no power for the ills of the world. Chase the powerful if you want to do something socially useful.

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      Dylan G.

      Mar 22, 2013 at 12:35pm

      "The production does not influence events." The presence of cameras in itself influences events, and for the producers to say otherwise is disingenuous. Documentary filmmakers as far back as Robert Flaherty (Nanook of the North) have acknowledged this fact,, making the analogy to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle whereby the observation of particles changes the properties of those particles. People behave differently in the presence of cameras, and the fact of being filmed also alters one's experience of what is being happening and being filmed. In the case of interactions with CBSA officers, I don't imagine that being filmed makes the experience any less stressful, upsetting, and/or potentially dehumanizing.

      As for the claim that the aim of the show is to provide insight into the workings of the CBSA, the production company's name makes it glaringly obvious that the show is entertainment and nothing more. The ethics and morality of selling these interactions as entertainment is a whole other discussion, but please don't pretend that there is anything noble about this enterprise.

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      Mar 22, 2013 at 12:38pm

      It's shameful that the Georgia Straight & "activists" continue to call for the censorship of this documentary series. As this statement clearly proves that Force Four did nothing illegal or unethical, I expect the Straight will be correcting the obvious errors made in their "journalism".

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      Cool Grandma

      Mar 22, 2013 at 12:55pm

      I love Border Security!!!

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