What new rules on carding means for Ontarians


Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi

Toronto, November 6 (CINEWS): The issue of carding is perhaps one of the most contentious issues in politics and policing. For years politicians have leaned gently on police boards trying to get them to stop the practice only to be rebuffed. Now Ontario’s Liberal government is proposing new regulations that would ban carding that allows police to stop any citizens and request information. In an interview with Can-India, Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi was confident that this law would open a new chapter between police forces and the community. “Carding is a practice that undermined the trust and I believe society if safeer if the community and the police work together and not as adversaries,” he said. The new law requires officers to provide a written record of any such exchanges. Police officers will not have the right to stop any person unless they have a specific reason or justifiable purpose.
Officers must also inform a citizen that a stop is voluntary and they have the right to walk away. They will also be required to provide a reason for the stop, documentation about it afterwards, and must inform citizens how to file a complaint or access information obtained during the stop.
“We’re saying: one, (a carding stop) cannot be random or arbitrary nor can it be based on race or the neighbourhood you live in,” Naqvi said during a news conference on Wednesday.
For the next 45 days there will be online public consultations. “We are planning on having all the details online translated in other languages like Punjabi and Urdu,” he said.
The new law is expected to take effect by July 1st, 2015.
While on the surface, carding seems to be a terribly racist and discriminatory practice given that a large number of those being carded happen to belong to people of color. What is being missed here is that in White areas too, there are cases of White teenagers loitering in public spaces who end up being carded and questioned by passing police patrols. On the other hand there is hard evidence suggesting that crime-ridden neighborhoods tend to be predominantly minority in composition.
Only time will tell if the absence of carding leads to a spike in crime rates. Until then there is widespread jubilation.

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