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Making Waves

Crushed Travel Rights


By Ross Kentner

U.S. border officials at Canadian airports are already relying on travellers' ignorance of their rights and Canadians' compliant nature to search and detain us on our own soil!  So says Theo Caldwell, a dual American-Canadian citizen writing in the Toronto Sun.  It's a right they don't have...yet.  But they may soon have it, after Bill C-23 passed in the House of Commons in June.   It's now before the Senate Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. 

C-23 stems from an agreement signed by former Prime Minister Harper and former President Obama to expand "preclearance."  That enables you to pass through American customs and immigration while still in this country. Once at your destination, you can proceed like a U.S. domestic traveller.

There are historical, business and practical reasons this could be a good thing.  But that was then and this is now.  Who can fly and who can't changes by fiat of President Trump.  The bill gives U.S. border guards the right to carry arms, conduct strip searches and detain us in our own country.   Nothing Prime Minister Trudeau nor Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said provides any assurance that our cherished rights will prevail if we chance to enter the U.S. Preclearance area.  Pity Canadian members of visible minorities.

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