Posted by: Rob | July 31, 2009

When Life Imitates Art

We citizens of the Great White North were as shocked and dismayed as Americans when the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City tumbled down to earth* on September 11, 2001.  There were, after all, Canadians who lost their lives in that tragedy, but that’s not the only reason for the sympathetic of reactions of Canadians to what had happened to our American cousins.

The American government’s knee jerk reaction – the establishment of the “Department of Homeland Security”** – has eventually resulted in Canadians’ shock and dismay turning to bewilderment.

For, it seems, the Americans don’t trust us Canadians.  We are viewed with the same suspicion as your garden variety political or religious radical from BFE.

We’ve alternated between bewildered and bemused as the Americans have gone through gyrations attempting to establish “Fortress USA” in North America.  Bemused as we observe the build up in numbers of border guards deployed along our collective boundary and the antics of the “militia men” and bewildered when we are now heavily scrutinized, questioned, searched, anal probed*** and, at times, denied entry as we attempt to take a trip, business or pleasure, into the lower 48.

I’ve never read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, but I’ve heard enough references from it that I can opine that someone in the US DHS is using it as a playbook for expanding their influence through fear peddling, suspicion and surveillance.

I’ve read stories about the US Customs and Border Protection’s efforts to increase montoring of the joint US-Canada border.  These include a mention of the use of predator drones based out of Fargo, ND to patrol the vast nothingness on either side of 49, which separates Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta from Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota.

There are also plans to launch balloons along the Great Lakes frontier and these balloons will be equipped with cameras to enable “Big Brother” to keep an eye on us troublesome Canucks.

I was a little amused to read this story this morning about the folk in Sarnia.  They’re fed up with this escalating neighbourhood watch bullshit and are planning to retaliate in typical Canuck fashion:

The event, “Moon the Balloon,” is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Aug. 15 in Sarnia’s Centennial Park. Any Canadian with two cheeks and a sense of outrage is invited to join in.

“The balloon is a clear violation of our privacy and our sovereignty,” said Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, who, though he won’t be taking part in the protest, believes “greatly in freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”

Bradley, who plans to take his fight to the federal government, said the balloon’s camera is capable of reading the name on a boat 14 kilometres away.

“I’ve talked to a retired major general who’s the leader on the project. He doesn’t understand that we would see this as invasion of privacy. He just doesn’t get it.”

Yeah, the Americans just don’t get it. The same old response refrain is that “If you’ve got nothing to hide, then you don’t have anything to worry about.”

It’s just going to keep getting worse and worse. It’s too bad that greed prevents us from just telling the Americans, once and for all, to simply “kiss our collective ass”.

* The actual background and cause of the towers’ collapse is, I believe, still in dispute, although not “officially”.

** Who was the idiot that thought up that stupid name?  In my humble opinion it’s on par with Nazi Germany’s “Fatherland” moniker.  But then, any extreme nationalist sentiment is to be viewed with suspicion in my mind.

*** Okay, I made that one up.  No, really.  It NEVER happened.


  1. Hey, it’s a bummer having neighbours from hell isn’t it. We should build a really big fence along the 49th to keep their balls out.

  2. i love it! it should become widespread – so to speak. we can all moon the satellites, balloons, drones… it really is like looking in the neighbors windows.

    sorry ’bout that…

  3. Hmmm, I can relate to this. I get the paranoia, and I get the reasons for it, but having traveled to the US in the last couple of months I must say that they are awfully good at making even the most harmless well intended types feel like criminals. I flinched every time I saw someone in a security uniform. Paranoia Inc.

  4. If I could, I would “moon the balloon”, too. I think it’s nuts, and miss the good old days when you could just zip across the border for a little shopping. But it goes both ways, though. It’s harder for some US citizens to get into Canada now, too, since they are scrutinizing everyone. They just used to let you pass, now they run your name, and if you had a felony conviction two decades ago, and only parking tickets since, too bad, can’t come in. Really happened to someone I know. Stupidity all round, I say.

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