Vive Le Canada

Fired intern files complaint against Bell Helicopter over U.S. security rules
Date: Wednesday, February 07 2007

Fired intern files complaint against Bell Helicopter over U.S. security rules

Published: Tuesday, February 6, 2007 | 2:15 PM ET
Canadian Press

MONTREAL (CP) - A former intern at a Bell Helicopter factory near Montreal is seeking $110,000 from the company because he says he was unfairly fired over U.S. security restrictions.

Jaime Vargas was born in Venezuela, one of several countries whose citizens are banned under U.S. law from being involved in the construction of strategic American military weapons.

Vargas says he lost the position last fall.

The company told him it due to poor performance but Vargas says he had no problems until the security rules came up.

The Montreal-based Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations said Monday it's filing a civil rights complaint on Vargas' behalf asking for $110,000 in compensation.

"ITAR (the International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is creating new Maher Arars in Canada as a foreign government is making honest, hard-working Canadians into national security risks and economic 'enemy aliens' in their own country," said Fo Niemi, the centre's executive director.

Calls to Bell Helicopter seeking comment were not immediately returned.

The Bell Helicopter plant in Mirabel, Que., is working on an $849-million contract for the U.S. Army and earlier this month had to reassign 24 employees in order to comply with the ban.

[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on February 7, 2007]

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