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08/29/2002 Archived Entry: "Back after a long absence"
This news item is disturbing. In essence, U.S. soldiers may be receiving the "right" to cross the border and operate on Canadian soil in the event of a terrorist attack. The Canadian government has attached all the standard disclaimers to the proposal, which was sprung almost as a fait accompli yesterday.
For example, the "invasion" of U.S. military -- with the Canadian government's complicity -- would only occur in the case of an emergency and on a case-by-case basis. Like all other assurances of restraint, however, these will be swept away without compunction if a "terrorist attack" occurs.
(Ashcroft's definition of terrorism would probably be the one used -- a definition that he has been trying to use as a springboard for State squelching of civil liberties.)
Why would the U.S. military respect the rights of Canadians when the U.S. doesn't even apply Constitutional guarantees to its own citizens? Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was born in the U.S.A. and arrested on its soil, is being held indefinitely without trial -- indeed, without being charged with any crime -- on suspicion of plotting a radioactive bomb attack against the US. The evidence against him seems flimsy to non-existent. (And, no, "information" leaked from the government to the media doesn't constitute evidence.)
I sometimes joke that Canada is a colony of the U.S. because of how dependent it is on the American economy. Moreover, Canadian culture is ill-defined -- at least, outside Quebec -- with American culture serving as a de facto default position.
AUTHOR'S ASIDE...Year ago, a contest sought to capture the Canadian character. People were asked to complete the sentence "As Canadian as...." to be parallel to the saying "As American as apple pie." The winning entry: "As Canadian as possible under the circumstances." ASIDE CONCLUDED.
American military patrolling and regulating Canadian soil was never a circumstance I envisioned.