Mr. Speaker, I want to highlight a couple of points.
When we talk about our border with the United States it is something like 6,000 or 7,000 kilometres long. I forget the exact length but whatever it is, it is a very long border between Canada and the United States. I suppose if we had immigration and customs officers every few yards, that would be the perfect solution. We cannot do that of course.
Let me point out some of the statistics which I thought I had highlighted in my speech but they are worth going over again. There are approximately 11,000 employees and 1,369 service points across the country and abroad. Last year there were 71 million highway travellers, 18 million air travellers, 276,000 rail passengers, 2.9 million marine passengers, and over 11 million commercial releases. Over $3.3 billion was collected in import duties and $22 billion was collected in GST.
This is not a small operation. This is a huge operation that is of critical importance to Canada. That is why our government is focusing on it as a key priority and the resources necessary to perform the function are being made available and will continue to be made available.
The member for Central Nova talked about the customs officers not carrying guns. I am wondering if he is aware of an independent job hazard analysis that was done in June 2003. It was performed for the former Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. It affirmed that firearms were not considered a necessary tool for customs officers. Does the member know about that report?