VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A crime expert is warning it may soon be easier for criminals to move guns and drugs into BC.

The union representing Canada’s border guards claims the federal government will cut more than a thousand jobs across the country, including 116 in the pacific region.

Simon Fraser University criminology professor Rob Gordon says if the union’s claims are true, life is going to get much easier for gangsters and other criminals.

“If these cuts are going to affect direct services at the border as opposed to background services, there are going to be increased risks in respect to things like cross-border trafficking of people, pornography, drugs firearms and all kind of things that get shipped back and fourth,” Gordon says.  “I’m not sure if they have done an analysis of the impact, but it would seem to me that there will be some problems.”

Customs and Immigration Union President Jean-Pierre Fortin says 325 front-line jobs are being cut in the wake of the federal budget.

He says those are the individuals who track terrorists, drug traffickers and sexual predators, and they focus on suspicious travelers or shipments entering Canada.

“There will be little, and in some cases potentially, no investigating or surveillance being done to keep these criminals out of the country and out of our communities,” Fortin said. “If the government doesn’t change the course and withdraw its plan to implement these cuts, the federal government will be putting the national security and public safety of our community at risk.”

Nineteen dog sniffing teams are also being slashed and every agent who tracks child porn has received a notice.

Fortin says the government is misleading Canadians by saying frontline work won’t be affected, because it’s these jobs which are crucial to security at our borders.

The Harper government, meanwhile, has dismissed the warnings, with Parliamentary Secretary of Safety Candice Hoeppner telling Rogers radio news the numbers are inflated, and only a fraction of those who received notices will actually lose their jobs.

“This is plain and simple fear-mongering and grandstanding. The cuts that we’re talking about will have no implication on national security or on our border security,” she said. “There’s a lot of work that’s already being done by police services, RCMP, CSIS, and there’s some good work that’s being done at CBSA in terms of intelligence.”

Hoeppner said many people will simply be moved around in the department and most of the positions being slashed are duplicates which aren’t delivering what’s needed and must go.

In addition, she pointed out that the Harper Conservatives are responsible for bringing in legislation to crack down on smuggling and child pornography.

“Now we’re hearing complaints like this when it just doesn’t make any sense,” she said, in response to Fortin’s press conference, adding that she believes the union is making these claims because they are not happy about some of its federal funding being cut.

Fortin said there are also concerns that the cuts mean the US will play a larger role at the Canadian border, as the two continue to negotiate a perimeter security deal.