Transit police are now doing the job of the federal immigration authority. What we have happening here is an erosion of rights, and could be a slippery slope into a mass witch hunt.
You see, transit police are solely dedicated to transit, the safety of passengers and employees. Sure, it may seem like a waste of money to have police officers checking tickets, but handing off higher responsibilities which are out of their jurisdiction is an abuse. If transit officers were expected to be undercover, internal eyes for the federal immigration authority, this would undoubtedly evoke racial profiling and a barrage of unlawful search and seizures. This is a prudent concern in our day and age.
What’s next, fisheries officers who check for a fishing licence, then throw you in a cell while they see if it’s possible you’ve visited any Islamic countries and therefore could possibly perhaps be or know a member of Isis? Pure conjecture? I say, no warrant, no arrest. The Canadian Criminal Code agrees. The public should know their rights.
Generally, the police do not have power to stop or question you without a reason. If the police stop you, you are under no legal obligation to answer their questions. You do not have to show ID or give an address unless they are ticketing you.
Police may not arrest you simply upon suspicion. If you are arrested or detained, you must be told why. You have the right to a lawyer and free legal advice. So, kudos to the human rights groups who called out Metro Vancouver’s Transit Police and the Canadian Border Service Agencies.