Thursday, February 23, 2017

What An Open Border Means

Justin Trudeau went to Washington a couple of weeks ago. His mission was to keep the border open. But, with Donald Trump as president, having an open border has taken on a whole new meaning. Bill C-23 -- which has not yet been passed -- allows American border guards to act within Canada. Emilie Taman writes:

What many Canadians don’t know is that our government is about to hand significant powers over to the Trump administration that will allow American border security officers to arrest Canadians on Canadian soil.

We should all be scared. Since taking office in January, Trump has advanced racist policies, attacked the free press, undermined the judiciary, maligned reasonable voices and courted controversy at every turn.

We are allowing Trump's police force to act as if they are on American soil:

The newly empowered U.S. border guards will, under C-23, be allowed to detain, question, seize property, frisk, strip-search and arrest Canadian citizens on Canadian soil.

C-23 not only gives new powers to U.S. border guards — it takes away our own rights as Canadians.

Currently, any Canadian who wants to exit a preclearance area can just walk away; it’s still Canadian territory, after all. If C-23 is passed, it will not be so easy.

Under C-23, once you’re detained by a U.S. border guard, there is no escape; they decide when you can leave. And even if a Canadian traveller has an uneasy feeling and wants to leave the preclearance area prior to being detained, the new law would require that person to justify the decision to leave. In short, C-23 gives Trump’s guards all the power they need to hold anyone they want.

Moreover, it threatens the right of permanent residents of Canada to be able to return home from abroad. And even if guards are found to be abusing this policy, the bill gives them protection from prosecution.

Not only are we ceding our sovereignty on Canadian soil, we could end up stranding vulnerable Canadian residents in Trump’s America with little recourse to protect ourselves.

Trump may well succeed in destroying the bedrock principles upon which his nation was built. We should not allow him to destroy the foundations of this country.

Image:  Universita di Padova


Lorne said...

Typical of his neoliberal values, Owen, Trudeau justifies this expansion of powers by saying it “is a good system that allows for smoother movement of goods and services".

I guess how it may affect people is, if anything, a mere afterthought.

Owen Gray said...

Neo-liberalism has never been about people, Lorne. It's always been about profits.

John B. said...

With each new pronouncement and ridiculous rationalization, you realize more what a wonderful job Manley and Barton have done in filling his empty head with their droppings. This one also dedicated to the middle class and those working hard to join it.

Owen Gray said...

The agenda is the same, John -- with a smiling face.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Bill-23 was done a few days before Trudeau went to meet Trump. A gift to bring to Trump. This is not Trumps fault. It is Trudeau's. He will give away our rights before he says no. I think he is all about special interests and yes I think he is a threat to our sovereignty, just like Harper.

Owen Gray said...

It's a mistake to underestimate Trump, Pam. Lots of Republican candidates for president learned that lesson. Justin may also learn that lesson.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

I don't think Trump is being under estimated Owen. My point which I didn't explain very well is that Trudeau is an appeaser and he's quite capable of going along with bill-23 regardless of it's violation of Canadians rights. He doesn't seem, especially when it comes to the U.S. able to say no.

Owen Gray said...

I share your worries, Pam. At some point -- at the border, or at Keystone, or at NATO -- Trudeau is going to have to tell Trump no. Let's hope he has the backbone to do it.

Steve said...

when all the polticmec is boiled away Trump is right. We are a lifeboat and we can try and save as many passegers as possible, we can to allow the boat to sink. Canada is about to overwhelmed by Trump dogers and we should welcome them all in temporarily but after that the law should apply.

Owen Gray said...

Something tells me that, as in the days of the Vietnam War, we will have lots of Americans looking for a new home, Steve.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

What I don't get is the logic behind this bill.
Either you're on U.S. soil or you're not. Either you're on Canadian soil or you're not.
The way this bill reads out is "Most illogical" (to paraphrase Star Trek's "Mr. Spock" character).

Owen Gray said...

Which reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw just after the American invasion of Iraq, Tal. It read: "What's our oil doing under their sand?"