Mulcair backs ‘outside, objective’ review of in-custody death

Published in 24 Hours Vancouver | February 2, 2014 | Circulation: 280,000+


Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair responded for the first time to a Mexican woman’s death in Canada Border Services Agency custody on Dec. 28, supporting an ongoing coroner investigation.

Although the NDP head stopped short of backing calls for a public inquest into the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez, he warned Canada is sending many asylum-seekers “back to danger” in what he called “heartbreaking cases of people who should be given better consideration.

“Whenever something that takes place in a situation of that nature, of course an outside agency has to take a look at it to make sure everything was done to avoid such a tragedy,” he told 24 hours in Vancouver Sunday. “There has to be an objective outside view.”

Last month, QMI agency reported the government set quotas to strip status from 875 refugee claimants.

Richmond RCMP concluded Jimenez’s death was “not criminal,” but migrant and civil liberties organizations have demanded increased CBSA oversight.

CBSA’s regional director general disputed allegations Jimenez’s sister signed a confidentiality agreement after her death, calling reports “inaccuracies and speculation” in a statement Friday.

“The CBSA has never requested a confidentiality agreement from the family,” Roslyn MacVicar stated. “Allegations that the CBSA attempted to conceal information are false.

“The CBSA alerted first responders and the RCMP immediately, and notified other independent organizations including the (Mexican) Consulate in Vancouver, as per our standard procedures.”

MacVicar said detention facilities adhere to both Canadian and international law, and are “regularly monitored by independent organizations.”

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