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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

New passport requirements come into effect

The Peace Arch crossing between Washington and B.C.

New rules came into effect Monday requiring anyone crossing the Canada-U.S. border to have a valid passport:

Both countries used to boast about sharing "the longest, undefended border in the world." It's still largely unsecured (if the electronic listening posts, night-vision security cameras and unmanned drones flying surveillance missions are not counted). But an import changeover took place yesterday: Canada became just another country to the Americans, Canadians just another group of pesky foreigners. The special treatment we afforded one for the other is gone.

Surprisingly, former U.S. President George W. Bush had no idea the new regulations were put into place. "I'll be frank with you Frank, I don't know about the passport issue," said Bush at a recent appearance in Toronto. "I thought we were making good progress on using a driver's licence to cross the border. What happened to the E-Z card?" In fact, neither of the last two occupants of the White House were aware of the changes:

What makes this change doubly disturbing is that while it has been Canada's number one trans-border issue of this decade, the requirement to show a passport has gone largely unnoticed in Washington, at least at the highest levels. Speaking Friday to an audience of over 5,000 in Toronto, both immediate past presidents -- George W. Bush and Bill Clinton -- professed to be unaware of the new passport requirements. Since this change was first announced in 2004, each of our ambassadors to Washington and each of Washington's envoys in Ottawa has insisted that "high-level lobbying efforts" were ongoing in both nations to resolve any possible impediments to cross-border travel.

Bush was in power when the regulations were drafted, but I don't blame him for being unaware of the changes. Presidents are notoriously busy and this one has the IQ of a monkey. I do, however, blame the two prime ministers who have been in power since 2004. It was their responsibility to raise the issue with the president, but they apparently failed in this regard.

Canada and the U.S. have historically had a "special" relationship and I see no reason why this should end. The new rules treat Canadians as if they come from some sort of banana republic that's crawling with terrorists. Canadians should find this offencive. The truth is that Canada is a western country with reasonably high standards when it comes to immigration, border security, and law enforcement. We also came to the Americans defence after 9/11 by providing active support in the war in Afghanistan, yet they still treat us as a security threat.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano insists the Canadian and Mexican borders should be treated the same. However, with the number of Mexicans that cross illegally into the U.S. every year, it would seem more likely that terrorists would choose to use that border instead of ours.

The fact of the matter is that both Canada and the U.S. have homegrown terrorists. The 9/11 hijackers all entered the U.S. legally and they did not come from Canada. It is common to cite the 2000 millennium attack plots as a reason to strengthen the border, but Ahmed Ressam was apprehended at the border under the old rules. Way to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

Making it harder to cross into the U.S. from Canada makes about as much sense as putting guards on interstate borders. We should be working on bilateral efforts to increase the security of the continent as a whole, while simultaneously decreasing the barriers to free trade and free movement within North America. Unfortunately, we're going in the opposite direction. This move is sure to have economic consequences for both countries at a time when the economic activity generated by tourism and cross-border trade is badly needed.

(Photo courtesy Arnold C/Wikipedia)

Posted by Jesse Kline on June 2, 2009 in Travel | Permalink

Comments

"Unfortunately, we're going in the opposite direction. This move is sure to have economic consequences for both countries at a time when the economic activity generated by tourism and cross-border trade is badly needed."

Whine, whine, whine! There will be a brief period of adaptation as people acquire passports, and then everything will be back to normal. There really is no alternative but to adapt, so get over it real quick.

You people sound like Trudeau worshiping liberal Toronto people instead of western conservatives who would understand what has to be done.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-02 11:38:42 PM


So much for "friendly neighbors". In general this suits the pattern of limiting people's mobility all under the false flag of "security". And its going to have a serious impact on tourism and trade. Most Americans won't bother getting a passport just to come to Canada.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-03 5:46:50 AM


JC, the government of the United States has no duty but to its own people. It's not required to consider the consequences of its actions on the citizens of other nations. Other nations certainly don't consider the impact of their actions on America. And no, the U.S. is NOT a special case; it does NOT have more of a responsibility than any other single nation; it does NOT have to do it cleaner and better than the other guy. Politically, yes, it would be prudent, but there is no legal, moral, or ethical requirement.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 7:20:34 AM


Put down the latte and think - it's just bureaucracy. Once they have the proper document (deliberately singular) everything will be okay.

While a Schengen or Trans-Tasman Arrangement would be awesome for Canada and the US, it just is not going to happen anytime soon. Mexico would demand the same thing. It is still one of the freest borders on earth. For anyone to whine shows how spoiled rotten Canada is. God Bless America.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-03 7:22:11 AM


"it's just bureaucracy"

Bureaucracy is costly. Requiring someone to have a passport will not increase security but will increase costs which will, as usual, fall disproportionately hard on the poor.

That being said, although the US has no duty to Canadian citizens, it has a duty to American ones. This will impede trade, do nothing to increase security, and therefore hurt Americans as well.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-03 7:31:34 AM


For anyone to whine shows how spoiled rotten Canada is.
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 2009-06-03 7:22:11 AM

Most of the whining is coming from US border towns that are seeing a big drop in Canadians shopping there. Spend your money in Canada and let them whine.

God Bless America.
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 2009-06-03 7:22:11 AM

The Punk is in "American" mode today. He swings back and from from being a Canadian to an American depending on whether he's taken his clozapine medication.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-03 7:45:54 AM


They do too have an duty to Canadian citizens - the same obligation they have to all, namely the right to a fair trial.

If the US wanted to deter Canadian trade or tourism, they would have made the entry process complex and burdensome. They didn't - you people just don't like change.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-03 8:40:18 AM


ZP,

Passports, for a lot of people, are expensive. It will deter them from crossing the border. This will hurt everyone.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-03 8:43:45 AM


Then save up and get one! $87 for adults, $37 for kids 3-15 and $22 for kids 3 and under. Hardly penury compared to the thousands in plane tickets, hotel rooms, and car rentals on a vacation to Florida, California or New York. Those doing business can also well afford them given that they'll make huge profits in return.

Enough of your complaining! America is worth it.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-03 9:07:56 AM


"Bureaucracy is costly. Requiring someone to have a passport will not increase security but will increase costs which will, as usual, fall disproportionately hard on the poor."

How do you figure that, Charles? Government expenses are disproportionately borne by the rich in the form of wealth taxes, progressive income taxes, and business taxes. Indeed, it is the poor who disproportionately drain from, not contribute to, government coffers. And how is what America is willing to pay for her bureaucracy any of your concern?

"That being said, although the US has no duty to Canadian citizens, it has a duty to American ones. This will impede trade, do nothing to increase security, and therefore hurt Americans as well."

What sort of trade will be impeded? The passport requirement applies only to those driving into the United States. Goods are shipped covered by different documents, and air passengers have required passports for years.

You require a visa IN ADDITION to a passport to visit most any other country, but getting one is seldom a problem, and most people who travel to foreign lands do not begrudge the paperwork.

"Passports, for a lot of people, are expensive. It will deter them from crossing the border. This will hurt everyone."

The kind of person who can afford a car AND is willing to travel to the U.S. to shop for a sufficient quantity of goods to make the trip worthwhile will not have trouble paying for a passport.

You're harping a lot on the plight of the poor, Charles. Recession hit a little too close to home?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 9:18:02 AM


"They do too have an duty to Canadian citizens - the same obligation they have to all, namely the right to a fair trial."

True, but not a factor for most Canadians. Except Marc Emery.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 9:19:12 AM


Emery won't need a passport on his next trip to the US - he'll just need a set of hand and leg cuffs.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-03 9:24:26 AM


What takes longer ... getting a passport or debating incessantly as to its necessity?

As far as painful, debating the issue is a clear winner.

Posted by: set you free | 2009-06-03 9:29:20 AM


"How do you figure that, Charles? Government expenses are disproportionately borne by the rich in the form of wealth taxes, progressive income taxes, and business taxes. Indeed, it is the poor who disproportionately drain from, not contribute to, government coffers."

100% correct for once Shane. Except you're not seeing the big picture. Let's take progressive income taxes for example. They discourage entrepreneurship and investments. Why would someone start a business if they have to bear 100% of the losses and only receive 50% of the benefits for example? When entrepreneurship is discouraged, less jobs are created in the economy. When less jobs are created, there's less demand for labour. With less demand for labour comes lower salaries. So in essence, the poor are a drain on the rich but they are a bigger drain on themselves. A 10% hit on the rich is much less painful than a 10% hit on the poor.

"What sort of trade will be impeded? The passport requirement applies only to those driving into the United States."

Precisely, people spend money when they cross the border. Requiring a passport will discourage Canadians from driving into the US.

"The kind of person who can afford a car AND is willing to travel to the U.S. to shop for a sufficient quantity of goods to make the trip worthwhile will not have trouble paying for a passport."

Really? One of my friends is a bike messenger. He probably makes around $18,000 per year. Every now and then he rents a car and goes to the States. $100 for him is a big deal. He's personally told me that with this added cost he will no longer go. He's probably not the only one.

"You're harping a lot on the plight of the poor, Charles. Recession hit a little too close to home?"

Well Shane. I am very concerned for the poor and always have been. It is they who are hit the hardest by welfare, progressive income taxes, over-regulation, provincial welfare, corporate welfare, high corporate taxes, protectionism, etc.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-03 9:37:28 AM


Quit your whinin'! If your friend can afford a driver's license ($75 in Ontario) and to rent a car ($100 per day to start) then he can afford a passport.

Oh yeah by the way there are no poor people in Ontario. Just so you know.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-03 9:45:32 AM


Pike you are without a doubt THE biggest idiot on the web.

and that's sayin' some considering how many of you losers are out there.

My suggestion to you? Get stuffed. But good.

Posted by: Stevie 202 | 2009-06-03 10:29:20 AM


ZP,

I don't live in Ontario. Neither does my friend.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-03 11:15:12 AM


"Emery won't need a passport on his next trip to the US - he'll just need a set of hand and leg cuffs."

Which the Americans will provide free of charge.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 11:18:30 AM


Charles,

1. If you're poor enough that you don't have a job, you have better things to do with the money you do have than travel to other countries.

2. Requiring a passport to enter the U.S. has not discouraged ME from going there. Nor, to judge from the lineups outside the passport offices, has it discouraged many others.

3. Your friend may not be the only one, but he WILL be in the minority, and with a salary like that, I don't expect he spent a great deal down there anyway. You're talking about a drop in the bucket.

4. Be as concerned for the poor as you like. When they start becoming concerned with anyone besides themselves, I might be inclined to follow suit.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 11:23:45 AM


"My suggestion to you? Get stuffed. But good."

Are you volunteering to do the stuffing?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 11:25:20 AM


Shane,

1. Have you ever heard of the working poor? For these people, it is possible every now and then to travel to the US, especially if they live close to the border.

2. What's your point?

3. We are talking about a drop in the bucket. And this particular regulation is not a big negative for the economy. But it's a negative and needs to be denounced as such.

4. Oh ... so you're refraining from implying I'm a hypocrite then (don't think that last cheap shot didn't go unnoticed)? I don't blame the poor Shane. They are acting rationally and taking advantage of a "free ride" (or at least what appears to be a free ride). I blame the leftists. I also blame those who print too much money and cause the large economic imbalances our society faces today.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-03 12:08:14 PM


My suggestion to you? Get stuffed. But good."

Are you volunteering to do the stuffing?


>>>>>>>>>>>>
Mathews,

Sorry, I don't swing that way, so don't get all damp and excited.

Maybe you and Pike should >ahem< get together?

Posted by: Stevie 202 | 2009-06-03 12:19:29 PM


Enough of your complaining! America is worth it.
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 2009-06-03 9:07:56 AM

Rush out and get a passport if you don't have one so you can travel to the US "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world" according to Barack Hussein Obama. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/toby_harnden/blog/2009/06/03/barack_hussein_obama_us_one_of_the_largest_muslim_countries_in_the_world

I'm going back to Australia this summer. All round much nicer place.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-03 12:20:56 PM


Pike you are without a doubt THE biggest idiot on the web. and that's sayin' some considering how many of you losers are out there. My suggestion to you? Get stuffed. But good.

Posted by: Stevie 202 | 2009-06-03 10:29:20 AM

Care to explain?

---

ZP, I don't live in Ontario. Neither does my friend.
Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-03 11:15:12 AM

So sorry. I automatically assume people who complain like you did are Ontarians. In any case, other jurisdictions charge similar amounts for driver's licenses. It makes no difference.

----
"Emery won't need a passport on his next trip to the US - he'll just need a set of hand and leg cuffs." Which the Americans will provide free of charge.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 11:18:30 AM

And who says America is not generous! Let's hope these chains give Emery permanent physical scars.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-03 12:38:32 PM


Charles,

1. I've heard of them, and when I was starting my career, was one of them, having to room with two other guys to afford a decent apartment. It's not an excuse. A passport costs $17 a year.

2. My point is that your melodramatic claim that trade and vacationing between the nations will wither and die is just a wee bit overdone.

3. On the positive side, it means that those who do have passports will get through quicker, meaning no more five-hour border waits. If wait times are improved, that will likely more than offset the minuscule losses you are talking about.

4. "They are acting rationally and taking advantage of a free ride." Yes, weasels are practical, too. It doesn't make their actions praiseworthy. Murdering a man for his money is also a rational act, can you do it with minimum risk; does that excuse the action?

Printing more currency does not devalue it; on the contrary, printing more is often necessary to offset a devaluation that has occurred for other reasons. The amount of currency is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of actual money, in the form of bonds, investments, debts, and other liquid assets. The government prints as much as people want.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 12:53:08 PM


"Sorry, I don't swing that way, so don't get all damp and excited."

Then either make a contribution to the topic or piss off. The last thing we need around here is another troll.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 12:53:55 PM


"And who says America is not generous! Let's hope these chains give Emery permanent physical scars."

Actually, philanthropically speaking, America is the most generous nation in the world by far. As for the chains leaving scars, even if they do no one would notice because he's so damn ugly already.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 12:57:09 PM


Printing more currency does not devalue it; on the contrary, printing more is often necessary to offset a devaluation that has occurred for other reasons
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 12:53:08 PM

Bwahahahahahahaha. Three of the most studied (and I could give you lots more)cases of how printing currency devalues the money supply and unchecked led to hyperinflation are the Confederate States of America during the US Civil War, Hungary right after WW2 and Brazil from the mid 80's to mid 90's. I suggest you read up on any one of them before you make yourself look sillier.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-03 1:29:40 PM


Actually, Stig, printing more money by itself does not cause hyperinflation; the government prints more money in response to other factors, such as mounting government debt, severe loss of confidence in the currency (as can happen after losing a major war), or a shortage of material goods. The loss of confidence in the issuing authority is the instigating factor. The insolvent authority then prints more money in an attempt to stave off the inevitable.

In any case, the U.S. is a long way from hyperinflation. America may be down, but it's certainly not out. Wake me when consumer prices start rising by more than 50 percent a month and they can no longer print money fast enough for people to spend it before it becomes worthless.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 1:46:36 PM


Actually, Stig, printing more money by itself does not cause hyperinflation; the government prints more money in response to other factors, such as mounting government debt, severe loss of confidence in the currency (as can happen after losing a major war), or a shortage of material goods. The loss of confidence in the issuing authority is the instigating factor.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 1:46:36 PM

I suggest you familiarize yourself specifically with Brazil where the government essentially ran the country for two decades by the printing press. Brazil tried to spend itself from a third world country into a first by printing more and more money. The end result was hyperinflation.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-03 2:07:03 PM


The proximate cause of Brazilian hyperinflation was the floating of several enormous loans in the 1950s to finance the construction of Brasilia, a new capital city in the hinterlands (despite the fact that they already had a capital city, Rio), then dealt with the skyrocketing debt by revving up the inflation engine.

It's a trap that's it's hard to break free of, because it requires a radical correction to the economy; any such attempt will, in the short-term, be enormously unpopular with the people. The longer the government waits to get out, the greater the shock will eventually be. So Brazil's leaders printed more money and indexed the cost of living to that of inflation to hold off the inevitable crash until at least they were no longer in office.

But the proximate cause was DEBT.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 3:07:08 PM


"Sorry, I don't swing that way, so don't get all damp and excited."

Then either make a contribution to the topic or piss off. The last thing we need around here is another troll.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-03 12:53:55 PM


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Pike is the world's worst troll, you self-sanctified moron and I was calling him out.
THEN you made some dumb-ass response.....so

Fuck you, dick-head

Posted by: Stevie 202 | 2009-06-04 10:21:07 AM


"Fuck you, dick-head!"

You should be so lucky. For someone who "doesn't swing that way," you revisit this topic an awful lot. Perhaps Simba is his own "man," eh?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-04 10:49:38 AM


Fuck you, dick-head!"

You should be so lucky. For someone who "doesn't swing that way," you revisit this topic an awful lot. Perhaps Simba is his own "man," eh?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-04 10:49:38 AM

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Such wit!
And yet you spend all your time here?
Society's loss I suppose.

Posted by: Stevie 202 | 2009-06-04 12:33:55 PM


Does anybody have a light for my huge joint of excellent B.C. bud?
I love checking out all of your discussions when I'm really high.
Trippy!

Posted by: Dave | 2009-06-28 10:42:55 AM


http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1121946128895_126/

Three B.C. men charged after drug tunnel bust

I love stories like this - drug dealers dig a tunnel under the Canada-US border to move their product. But it turns out they were under surveillance by the DEA and RCMP the entire time. All that effort for nothing. It shows that druggies are worthless human beings in need of some rehabilitation.

Imagine the look on the druggies' faces when they emerge out of their tunnel to see DEA agents waiting for them. Worse, if one tried to run for it back to the Canadian side, the RCMP is waiting for them. Ah, sweet justice. And you just knew the agents went back to the office afterwards and laughed about the whole thing.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-28 11:01:57 AM



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