Listening to Vic Toews, Public Security Minister for Canada, Janet Nopolitano, Secretary Of Homeland Security for the USA and Gary Doer the Canadian Ambassador to the USA, I got the impression that the USA got everything that they asked from Canada again and that we the average Canadian citizen would be losing even more of our privacy rights in the near future, where travel and movement is concerned. No one talked about the thriving very lucrative business that has started up since the tightening of the borders by the United States Government.
The selling of temporary visas, applications to any Canadian wanting to enter the united States and has a criminal record for anything. For a person with a record they have to ask permission of the USA, Homeland Security Department. Now once you get this interview you the undesirable Canadian will be told how for the price of $500.00, non refundable you can fill out an application for a special temporary visit only good for the one trip. Filling out the application and sending it in is no guarantee that you will be allowed entrance into the United States, or that someone will actually take a look at your application in time for you to take the trip should you be allowed. They say it could take up to five years to get a special visa and that you must apply every year and pay the $500.00 fee each time. With this scam going on and the border patrol refusing entry into the USA for Canadians for the reasons having nothing to do with terrorism, dating back from the time the individuals were 18 years old and having nothing to do with being a terrorist threat. Do you really think that the USA government is going to give up that kind of cash cow?
Vic Toews stood there on television and tried to imply that giving up the private information of Canadians on flights flying over the USA was a good thing and was not an infringement of Canadian citizen’s rights to privacy. The old Walrus did what the Harper team does best and dragged others into their bad deals and said the Privacy Commissioner said it was an acceptable loss of our rights as Canadians considering the circumstances and the dangerous times that we live in. If this is to be taken seriously why are we not doing the same thing in order to protect our air space from “Terrorist Threats using our joint border weaknesses to attack us from within”, as is why the USA is doing it says Vic Toews?
Janet Nopolitano looked like she was embarrassed by Vic Toews cow towing and boot licking performance as she stood at times behind him and other times kind of pushing the old boy gently out-of-the-way when he did not relinquish the microphone quick enough. Ms. Nopolitano looked confident in her position and hopeful when she was looking at her pupil, Vic Toews, like a teacher watching a student give a speech in public, hoping that he or she does not blow it. Vic Toews looked as nervous as a rookie, always looking half towards Ms. Nopolitano as if trying to ascertain that he was saying the right thing. If it was not about such a serious matter the whole press conference could be laughable. When she said that our privacy issues in Canada were not all that different then theirs in USA, I almost fell on the floor, because she was telling the truth.
Since 9/11 under the Homeland Security authority citizens of the United States do not enjoy privacy, they enjoy the Patriot Act. All rights to privacy by the average citizen of the USA have been suspended in an effort to keep America safe from the ever-present possibility of a terrorist attack. I think I would rather live with the possibility of another 9/11 then live with no rights under the law waiting for an attack that may never come and that even the Secretary of the Homeland Security Department, Janet Nopolitano says is not likely to happen.
I would like to draw your attention back to when this garbage first started and the Americans began asking for the prison records of all Canadians. They said the information would only be used to avert a terrorist threat they were not interested in people who committed minor offenses while they were kids; but in the true fashion of the USA’s governmental word of honor they started turning back anyone with a criminal record, for stealing, for fighting, but nothing to do with a terrorist activity, consorting with terrorist groups, or organisations. Canada said no to this and we talked about special cards pre checked so that our neighbors to south could be assured that our government had checked us out and were not allowing terrorist to travel.
This seemed okay to both sides, but just in the nick of time Canada elected the cave in master, the “W” in the we can not live without the Americans foreign policy strategy and the next thing you know, if you were arrested and convicted of any crime big or small the USA knows about it and you can not even fly in their airspace on a commercial airliner trying to get to the West Indies for example.
I know of at least one friend of mine who was charged and convicted of a minor offense that was turned back from going to visit his mother in Virginia Beach. He had gotten into a bar fight when he turned 18 was convicted of assault and disturbing the peace. This guy is now 42 years old, has never been in trouble since, works everyday, has children, but in the eyes of the USA immigration, Homeland Security and USA customs he represents a terrorist threat, or is some how undesirable. I wonder how many Americans are turned back for this reason, or reasons similar? I know another male who has applied twice for the special visa without even getting an answer and has paid over a thousand dollars up to this point. Is this what Vic Toews and Janet Nopolitano call protecting the borders and how it is the same for all citizens whether they be Canadian , or American.
I think that our right to privacy is gone and will not return until the American government stops quaking in their boots and stops seeing terrorists around every corner. This will continue as long as the USA government keeps using 9/11 to make a profit selling admittance to the USA by applications for this special visitors visa. Imagine inviting your friend to come and visit your home, but before you let him across your threshold you make him produce all of his personal history whether relevant or not. Do you think that he would be your friend for long? Maybe we do not need a friend who thinks that we are terrorists, or harbouring terrorists, or that thinks that we are stupid and not capable of doing our own screening. When will the government of Canada start acting like Canadians again and give us back our rights?
If everything leading up to the war on terror and after the 9/11 attack on the USA has been a lie by the USA government to further its need to control the world, how can we possibly believe that the anything they say is true today? The worst problem of the USA and it allies is a credibility issue. Their government and their politicians are incapable of telling the truth. Their need to go to war at every turn is now being looked at and frowned upon more and more in international legal circles. The USA and its allies non compliance with international law and the arrogance in which it ignores the sovereignty of other nations to achieve its desire for vengeance is being called into question. Do we need a friendly government that keeps dragging us into this type of quagmire of deceit, violence and mistrust of everyone even our own people. Do we need a friend that does not trust us as a people and treats us as an enemy rather than a friend? I think that we do not and we should be treating them in the same manner as they treat us. Perhaps the American government needs to man up and realize that if they stop throwing their weight around, that maybe they would not have to worry about another 9/11 type of attack. All of a sudden we have the governments of the world saying that the loss of privacy for its citizens is not an issue because it is not a right and that a government must do whatever it can to keep its people safe.
Vic Toews posted pictures of people suspected of war crimes and being in this country illegal. There are no warrants out for them in any country other than Canada and that is for not being here legally. Is the right to a trial and the legal process now not an entrenched right of a person in Canada. Has the law become a vehicle by which governments get the results they need by twisting and perverting it to do their dirty work? We have changed all of our laws, started killing people all over the world, started imprisoning refugees and putting them in jail without due process, just to name a few things and for what? We have done all this because we were told to by the United States of America, after the 9/11 attack.
Canada has never been attacked by anyone, before 9/11 even threatened by anyone, because we were not attacking anyone, pushing anyone around, or out in the world trying to take what did not belong to us for nothing, but we started acting like the USA and now we feel threatened. We have changed our way of life Vic Toews based on a real American fear that they could be attacked again, but was Canada. We gave up who we were to become like them out of a puppy dog hero-worship that our Prime Minister has for the USA. The United States Government tried threatening John Chretien with lack of trade and he proved they were bluffing and they the Americans were not going to stop doing business with Canada, it would be disastrous for them as well, but Harper wanted this new image and Canadians are now paying the price for his power seeking ways.
How you ask? We were once a country of laws made to insure our rights not laws to take them away. We once respected our laws and the laws of others and our sovereignty as well as others; every day we break our own laws and tread all over the sovereignty of other nations. We used to deal with the needs of Canadians as a priority (social programming), now our priority is war. I would suggest that our way of life is no more and what we are doing is preserving the way of life of the people who we say we are fighting against. I think in this case they have won the war on terrorism, because they have made us the bombers of countries, the kidnappers of people in the night and the people who act outside of our own laws and outside of international law. They on the other hand have changed nothing and operate the same as they did before.