02.13.2017 08:40 AM

The Trumping of Canada

Read this:

U.S. border guards would get new powers to question, search and even detain Canadian citizens on Canadian soil under a bill proposed by the Liberal government.

Legal experts say Bill C-23, introduced by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, and likely to pass in the current sitting of Parliament, could also erode the standing of Canadian permanent residents by threatening their automatic right to enter Canada…

Michael Greene, an immigration lawyer in Calgary, says C-23 takes away an important right found in the existing law.

“A Canadian going to the U.S. through a pre-clearance area [on Canadian soil] can say: ‘I don’t like the way [an interview is] going and I’ve chosen not to visit your country.’ And they can just turn around and walk out.

“Under the new proposed bill, they wouldn’t be able to walk out. They can be held and forced to answer questions,” said Greene, who is national chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s citizenship and immigration section.

Under the existing law, a strip search can only be conducted by a Canadian officer, though a U.S. officer can be present. Greene points out C-23 says if a Canadian officer is unavailable or unwilling, the U.S. officer can conduct the search.

“So you could have a circumstance where the Canadian officer says, ‘No I don’t think a search is warranted here. I’m not willing to do it.’ But the U.S. officer just says, ‘Fine, we’re going to do it anyway.'”

I’m going to be on The Eric Drozd Show on @570News/@RogersTVWR this morning to talk about this, and voice my objections, as the CBA and others are doing.

You can oppose this Trumpian law, too, by emailing Ralph Goodale at ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca or by calling his offices at 613-947-1153 or 306-585-2202.  His Twitter handle is @RalphGoodale.



  1. Peter says:

    It’s not hard to imagine the American argument in reply. Why should a traveler going through U.S. Customs pre-clearance be in any different position than one if there were no pre-clearance? It may be on Canadian soil but it is so largely for the convenience of Canadians.

    • Kelly says:

      You’re correct, which illustrates the assholery of this law. It brings into focus the ways in which American policy often violates basic principles of freedom. The way in which that once great country has gradually descended into authoritarianism under the control of fascistic oligarchs for their security under the guise of ‘keeping America safe’. Meanwhile they’ve crafted a Stasi-like surveillance state that endangers the world.

      The fact that the President and his ‘posse’ had to watch the sad inaugural parade from behind a dome of 3-inch bullet-proof glass surrounded by private security co-mingled with irritated secret service personnel pretty much says it all. I just don’t see it lasting. Christian supremacist Pence knows it, so he smiles, waves and bides his time. And we will be well and truly f#%&@d.

      • Frank says:

        Trudeau is taking a very dangerous step toward Trump’s Nazi/fascist world view. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians and immigrants will be subject to Trump’s policies. I was born in the US and will not cross the border until democracy has been restored and the Trumpista fascist/Nazis are gone. I supported Trudeau now since 2015, now I have real doubts that I will again. Norwegians who supported Quisling were locked up after liberation.

        • whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

          If you are American, it doesn’t matter if you are living in Canada. Obama has trapped you with FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act). Yes…Obama did that, not Trump. I think many American and dual citizens living in Canada have no idea that they are probably living in non-compliance.

          • Tim says:

            Something that was signed off on by Stephen Harper. Although Trudeau is defending it in court against some people who have hired noted attorney Joe Arvay to fight it on Charter grounds.

      • Robert Frindt says:

        I am always amused at the many anti-American “proud Canadians” who are outraged when they are treated as foreigners at the US border.

  2. whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

    The new border agreement with the United States was negotiated with Obama and passed into US law in December. The United States will not expand and may shut down pre-clearance facilities at Canadian airports without them. They are the same conditions that were demanded by Obama for European countries that want pre-clearance facilities at their airports. The Obama Administration was negotiating with several European countries that want pre-clearance facilities at some of their airports.

    I don’t like the new conditions, but they pre-dated Trump and have nothing to do with him. Unfortunately, it is the “price” of not thickening the border for ordinary Canadians who like airport pre-clearance.

  3. Kelly says:

    According to the CBC article on this, these provisions were negotiated by — wait for it — Stephen Harper and Barack Obama. They were passed into American law in December. So why on Earth are the Liberals following through? Is it always and simply about the ‘economy’? Are they that pathetic?

  4. dean sherratt says:

    This story is entirely wound up on the matter of pre-clearance at airports and is of considerably value to Canadian travelers. However while the agreement is on paper reciprocal, as a practical matter it is only practical for USA agents to be stationed in Canada…not the other way around. I am not aware of any Canadian CBSA agents stationed at any USA airport vetting passengers going to Canada and I am not aware of any airplane arriving in Canada from abroad that is pre-cleared and can land and discharge its passengers into the domestic arrivals section of the Canadian airport.

  5. Miles Lunn says:

    I support the idea of pre-clearance facilities as they are convenient and do make it possible for Canadians to fly to more US cities, however I think the current rules as they are, are just fine. Pre-clearance officers should have the right to request a search and if a person agrees then it is done. If they refuse then they are denied boarding and refused entry while if a US citizen returning home, they can just radio ahead to the airport they are landing at and a CBP officer will be there to great them when they land in which case they will not have the right to refuse. I don’t support expanding the rules, but I think having pre-clearance facilities is still beneficial. I also think the CBSA should consider as a pilot project putting a few of them in high traffic areas. My suggestions would be Los Angeles, New York City, and Miami and depending on how it works either expand or cancel.

  6. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    It’s my understanding that Public Safety and Homeland Security are in the process of expanding American CBP offices at additional airports. It seems one is planned for Quebec City but that the U. S. Customs union is already fighting it. (They don’t want to live and work en français.)

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