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01/26/2005 Archived Entry: "Open borders"
A few days ago, Brad and I were in the car half-chatting, half-listening to the CBC 6:00 News when a report caught our attention. The print version of the story opens, "Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan has ordered an investigation into security at a major border crossing in Quebec after reports of motorists speeding through without being questioned....
"McLellan says she has asked the RCMP and Canada's Border Services Agency for a full report....More than a dozen cars have barrelled through it in the past six weeks without being stopped by the RCMP....Customs officers reportedly notified the RCMP, but to no avail. The offenders weren't intercepted because the Mounties eliminated patrols last fall along the Quebec-New York border." The radio version went on to explain that RCMP officers had been needed to investigate gang activity and terrorism threats in major cities and, so, were pulled off the relatively light duty of patrolling the border. (Strangely, the news report included a description of how to foil the border guards: you drive in a lane beside large trucks, which shield you from view, and make a dash across when you get close enough to the guard stations.)
When added together with the following report of non-existent or broken cameras that are supposed to be monitoring the US-Canada border, the folly of attempting to control the longest border in the world becomes clear. All the more so, as much of the terrain from Pacific to Atlantic is virtually uninhabited. That's 6416 kilometres (2878 kilometres - land, 3538 kilometres - water; 3987 miles (4631 miles - land, 2199 miles - water). Stats and info on the various border areas are here.