On the contentious issues of Carding and Bill C-24

Pradip Rodrigues

Every now and again, the issue of carding and racial profiling keeps coming up. Politicians naturally consider this an odious practice and rail against it while law enforcement firmly pushes back.carding
Most recently Peel Regional Police were under the spotlight for its carding practice. The inflammatory headline in the Toronto Star read- Blacks three times more likely to be carded by Peel police than whites. What a shame. What a shock.
One guileless reporter asked Peel Police Chief Jennifer Evans  if she knew why this was the case. And her response was that she didn’t know, but would continue to review the practice of carding. Really? The Police Chief really doesn’t know why blacks end up being carded more than any other group and even the journalist posing the question who gets press releases from police forces detailing lists of crimes along with names of suspects or their descriptions didn’t have a clue? Sounds odd because I’ve spoken to citizens and all seem to know why. This isn’t to say that racism has no part to play, sure it does, but from what I gather, carding is a practice that was devised to keep neighborhoods safe, it is pretty innocuous if you are a law abiding citizen. If I lived in a neighborhood plagued by guns, drugs and violence, I would expect to be carded, it just goes with the territory.
It so happens that many low-income neighborhoods that have high crime statistics tend to be filled with racialized minorities, few Whites if any would dare to live there. So naturally more blacks than whites would be carded.
Last weekend I met a Toronto police officer socially who without defending carding suggested someone should under the Freedom of Information Act get hold of the number of 911 calls and figure out the race of victims calling in to report crime as well as the description or names of the perpetrators.
Racial profiling I agree is offensive, humiliating but a necessary evil.

On losing one’s citizenship

This week letters informing atleast four members of the Toronto 18 that their citizenship would be revoked. Naturally in an election year, an announcement of such a drastic move has a polarizing effect on voters. There are voters out there who applaud such a decision and would wholeheartedly support any political party pushing for such action. Read Conservatives. Other voters are vehemently opposed to stripping citizenship off any citizen, either born Canadian or naturalized Canadian. These voters will gravitate toward NDP’s Tom Mulcair who promises to repeal Bill-24. And then there are those who are conflicted. On one hand, they see images of Jihadists shooting up their Canadian passports or plotting acts of terror and are convinced they have no pride in being Canadians but on the other hand, they are Canadian and should we simply be deporting them because they have dual citizenship while we tolerate a native born terrorist who has no place to go? And then again, how wise is it to strip citizenship off a dangerous terrorist and send him off to another country where he could then simply resume his terror schemes and take advantage of lax security, worse be a danger to another country? He or she could end up being an even greater threat to Canada in the years to come. Canada’s security would be served better if Canadian terrorists were securely lodged in our own prisons. Ofcourse, symbolically strip off the Canadian citizenship as long as his freedom of movement is also stripped. That would keep us all safe. Very safe.

Pradip Rodrigues started out as a journalist at Society magazine, part of the Magna Group in Mumbai. He wrote extensively on a variety of subjects. He later moved to the Times of India where he was instrumental in starting the now defunct E-times, a television magazine. He conceptualized Bombay Times and became its first assistant editor where he handled features and page three. Since coming to Canada in 2000, he has freelanced for newspapers and magazines in India and written autobiographies for seniors.

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