Political deep integration continues apace. The Liberal government is in the process of passing an extraordinary piece of legislation, C-23, which effectively cedes Canadian sovereignty to U.S. border officials.
Under this Bill, expected to pass shortly, Canadians can be held for interrogation by U.S. border guards at airports, even if we decide we've had enough hostile questioning about our religion, political views, social media habits, or mode of dress, and decide to stay in Canada after all. If we try to get up and leave at that point, or decide we don't want to answer more questions, we will be breaking Canadian law, and liable for arrest, conviction and imprisonment. Meanwhile, Canadian border officials in American airports will now have the right to prevent Canadian permanent residents from boarding an aircraft.
At a stroke, what we assumed were basic civic rights are being whisked away by the Trudeau government. American authorities will be able to detain Canadian citizens on Canadian soil, and the Liberals are making it a crime for us to refuse to co-operate. And just as American green-card holders are being harassed and blocked at U.S. airports, so Canada is now following suit against its own permanent residents, who -- until now -- had the unfettered right to enter Canada.
Pre-clearance has, of course, been a convenient way of entering the U.S. Better to be refused here than have to pay your way back from there. But this new law will apply, as noted, even to Canadians who change their minds about traveling to the U.S. after getting a taste of the Orange Era from a sneering American immigration official. It's worth reiterating: you won't just be able to walk away. You will remain under American authority, in Canada, and if you resist or refuse to answer an American interrogator's questions, you can be prosecuted -- by Canada.
This may seem to some like small potatoes. Most Canadians don't fly to the U.S. Most who do are unlikely to be harassed at the border. But it is wrong, I think, to dismiss this move so easily. Giving Americans the right to detain Canadians on our own land, and subjecting the latter to prosecution if we fail to comply, is a significant break from the past. Does anyone believe that U.S. pressure will stop there and that more concessions won't be made?
Trudeau's grinning performance in Washington, strong handshake and all, was really a gesture of obeisance. It was a dutiful visit to the court of the mad king. He will sound tough on trade issues for domestic consumption, and try to recover his shining mantle after his dismal performance of late, but he is what he is: little more than a satrap, not the leader of a sovereign nation. Just watch him.
Please chip in to keep stories like these coming.
Thank you for reading this story...
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.
If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.
We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.