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