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Torngat MHA Demands Explanation of Ferry Search and Seizure Protocols, Concerned About Human Rights Violation
"This violation of personal privacy and dignity would not be tolerated anywhere else in our province.”
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Office of the Official Opposition 

For Immediate Release

 

Nain, NL (September 4, 2019) – Torngat Mountains MHA Lela Evans has written to government officials, demanding an explanation of a policy of search and seizure apparently being applied on only one intraprovincial ferry service – the one serving the North Coast of Labrador.

“Why are ferry users in Northern Labrador being treated differently from passengers on other intraprovincial ferry services? The one thing that distinguishes the North Coast service from others in the province is that most users are Indigenous people. The province’s Human Rights Act, 2010 prohibits discrimination on the basis of many factors, including ethnic origin,” said Evans.

Section 11 of the Act states: “A person shall not, on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination … discriminate against a person or class of persons with respect to goods, services, accommodation or facilities that are customarily offered to the public.”

“The burden is on the Ball government to explain why a policy to prevent obviously intoxicated passengers from boarding, and to confiscate alcohol from passengers found to be openly consuming on board, is adequate on all provincial ferries except those that serve the North Labrador coast.”

“In the past week, employees of Labrador Marine Inc., which have been contracted by this Liberal Government, conducted invasive searches of personal belongings on the docks in both Nain and Rigolet. Luggage on the wharf, in full view of other passengers, was opened and searched. I have received reports that some individuals did not provide consent for those searches to occur.”

“Imagine boarding the Marine Atlantic ferry in Port aux Basques and being forced to step out of your car and lay your bags on the wharf while untrained workers searched through your personal belongings in full view of other passengers. This violation of personal privacy and dignity would not be tolerated anywhere else in our province.”

“This discriminatory policy affects a great many people throughout my district. The North Coast of Labrador is not accessible by road, so ferry services provide essential access to the rest of the province.”

 

Contacts:

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

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