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ambivalent allies September 21, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in politics.

Due to the mass amount of illegal border acrossing from Canada to the United States, Homeland Security is set to build 900 surveillance towers along the longest unprotected border in the world. The U.S. government agency has awarded the initial $80,000,000 contract to Boeing for the Homeland Security’s Secure Border Initiative — a Boeing representative has claimed, however, that it may rise to $2,500,000,000 over the next several years.

Wait, did I say Canada? I mean, I admit that I once walked down “0 Avenue” with one foot on American soil and one foot on Canadian soil, but seriously, you do not find too many Canadians “sneaking” across the ditch between Abbotsford and Sumas. I admit that there is definitely illegal immigration from Canada to the United States, but running across the border is hardly the way that it is accomplished. Most illegal immigration from Canada is via “extended visits”, a tactic used equally by Americans in Canada. I realize that the US government is not really concerned with Canadian citizens border jumping, but rather foreigners who use Canada as a stepping stone. Guess what — 10,000 watchtowers would not stop it. It would not even slow it down. As fascist as American border crossing guards are (trust me – I have German Shepherds ripping apart everything in my car everytime I go down to the States), it will not stop people from using completely legitimate ways of getting into the country. I am sure the Homeland Security knows this. So why spend millions – perhaps billions – on the venture?

Many disputes between our two nations end up with the United States setting us “in our place”. “Dispute” might not be the right word since our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, does not seem to complaining much. There has actually been references to a joint project that might see Canadians put up their own towers on the northern border. I am wondering, however, whether this initiative is for keeping Canadians (or people from Canada) out or keeping Americans in — psychologically. One has keep in mind that the border is the longest unprotected border for a reason. There has never been a need. Nothing has changed other than the political climate. What does this suggest? There is no doubt that these towers are more or less useless in almost every way other than psychological warfare. It tells Canadians, and everyone else, that they are not welcome. It tells Americans that the outside world is dangerous and that even their northern, ambivalent allies are capable of destroying the American way of life.

As for this Canadian, the Secure Border Initiative is actually being effective. I will stay out of the United States.

Here are some responses from other Canadians to the Globe and Mail’s story:

I R from Vancouver, Canada writes: You know, the Chinese built the Great Wall, the Romans built Antonine’s and Hadrian’s Wall, the French built the Maginot Line, and so forth. Are these walls the hallmark of a major imperial power in decline?

David K from South Toronto, Canada writes: Fortress Amerika? Seems a lot of money to be spending given that the southern migrants keep the economy down there going with cheap labour and zero benefits. Meanwhile up north all this for air-bag thieves? Paranoia is a wonderful thing if you are in the right sector of the economy. Meanwhile ask yourself, would any of this have prevented September 11th?

John Collier from South Africa writes: Maybe it’s to keep Americans from fleeing their country. I keep getting questions from friends in the US about emmigration to Canada. More likely, like most big projects, it’s an ineffective boondogle whose purpose is to provide tax money to a large corporation.

Lance M from Canada writes: One wonders if we could hire these border towers to keep American firearms from being smuggled into Canada and prevent the havoc of urban crime. Combine the towers with the plan of one congreeman to militarize the border with their national guard troops and perhaps other policies should be examined, like energy exports for example…

K Bakatare from Toronto, Canada writes: Y’all gonna build 900 towers for $80 million? Whutcha gunna make em outta, balsa wood?

Edwin Longueville from Cavan, Canada writes: It look like the US is wanting to built a wall around itself. Don’t forget that when the East Germans built the wall it was not to keep the West out but rather to keep their own citizens in. So I look at these wathtowers as a good idea that may keep some of the Illegal guns out, as well the people bringing them in. Lets keep a good perspective on this , hopefully these towers will keep the riff-raff out of Canada. At the moment there are only 2 countries that believe that building a wall will help them, The US and Israel. I rest my case.

S S from Nunaubittness, Canada writes: Wow, whats next….I giant dome over the entire Southern half of North America? I think these ‘watch towers’ are going a bit far. It will kind of be like looking at the towers from the out side of the prison they are building for themselve I would think. A little bizzar! and sad.

gaetan diotte from Ottawa, Canada writes: Every day are neighbours to the south are transforming themselves into the perfect soviet system.

William Lewis from Toronto, Canada writes: Nice to see the American Administration and politicians walling themselves and thier citizens off from the rest of the world. By the time they get done it will look like the worlds largest prison or concentration camp. Now if only the American Administration would stay home and stop meddling in other countries affairs the world would be a more peaceful place.

capra Marina from Huntsville, Canada writes: Hmmm… Is it locked out or locked in? Poor people, I guess they’ve got a real bad case of Endemic Fear.

Philip McRae from Vancouver, Canada writes: Never ask a Republican or Social Conservative how far too far is. There just doesn’t seem to be any end to their ‘need’ for security. The terrorist have won. Schools out on that subject. As Americans increasingly restrict their own rights and freedoms and inprison themselves in the name of security. What’s worse, that dancing to the tune of the fear mongers, they will now demand that Canada adopt an equally anti-social policy on border security and the Harper crowd will fall all over themselves to comply as quickly as possible. The question then becomes, once both sides have built the towers and placed the vulcan gatling guns, what’s next? What further restrictions will become necessary in the name of security? Ah, America, land of the free. Wonder what ever happened to them!

Tom Monroe from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, United States writes: This is beginning to sound like ‘The Village’ and soon enough Canadians will be ‘those of whom we do not speak.’

jake denotsko from United States writes: It seems like an interesting idea. But I feels it has a dual purpose. It will keep Mexicans from entering America looking for work, and it will work to keep Americans from entering Canada looking for freedom. It used to be great to be American.

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