UPDATE MON FEB 13, 2017
The NYT reports today about the meeting of President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau including a possibly relevant statement to this post:
He (Mr. Trump) said the two leaders had spoken privately about “doing some cross-border things that will make it a lot easier for trade and a lot better and a lot faster.” They issued a joint statement pledging to continue border security programs that began under Mr. Obama, and reaffirming their commitment to NATO, an alliance that Mr. Trump had previously questioned.
Earlier today I noticed a tweet that brought this on-going development to mind:
Pre-clearance bill would give U.S. border agents power to search and detain Canadians on Canadian soil https://t.co/FiSdU9qE0D
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) February 12, 2017
While this particular area may not directly impact expatriates resident outside of North America, it represents another area where information-sharing trumps privacy. In the case of Canada and the United States, an entirely new situation, shared policing on the opposite country’s soil, makes an awful lot of us more angry and nervous at being so vulnerable to the heavy-handed approach of the U.S. when it takes to protecting (enforcing) its interests.
The tweet references this article which defines new pre-clearance procedures at airports and outlines the following items of concern:
- Canadian permanent residents could find themselves in the same straits as some U.S. green card holders in the first days of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
- Canadians who may change their minds about entering the U.S. can be held for further questioning by U.S. agents (in Canada)
- U.S. agents can strip-search Canadians (in Canada)
- U.S. officers are allowed to carry sidearms while on duty in Canada, if they’re working in an environment where Canada Border Services Agency
The United States has already passed legislation and Canada has before the parliament Bill C-23
Any Canadian would likely be outraged at the idea of U.S. officers having power over them on Canadian soil. Particularly because Canadian sensibilities are very different from the heavy law-and-order approach of the United States. One might wonder, how on earth did we get here?
The current approach can be traced back to an initiative known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.
The stated goals of the SPP were cooperation and information sharing, improving productivity, reducing the costs of trade, enhancing the joint stewardship of the environment, facilitating agricultural trade while creating a safer and more reliable food supply, and protecting people from disease.
With the commencement of NAFTA in the mid-1990’s, one might wonder why on earth another initiative was necessary; the events of 9/11 in the United States prompted “the war on terror” which drew Canada in whether we want/like it or not.
An interesting perspective From NAFTA to the SPP
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect in 1994, was designed to enhance the access of transnational capital from the United States to cheap Mexican labor and Canadian natural resources. The SPP deepens these relations and harnesses the so-called war on terror to an expanded U.S.-Mexican-Canadian trade agenda and a lopsided energy grab to secure U.S. access to dwindling continental oil and gas reserves.
As its name implies, the SPP has two basic parts: the Security Agenda and the Prosperity Agenda. Both are rooted in the United States’ deteriorating global position, particularly its increased competition for access to global oil and gas reserves and worsening trade balance with China.
The Council of Canadians had serious concerns about the manner in which former Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to push the SPP forward. The Shiprider Program a maritime security law which would deputize U.S. officers “in every part of Canada” during integrated operations is the model for the bill we have today. It was Council of Canadians website covering the Shiprider program that alerted me to the fact that the Canadian government seemed hell-bent on compromising our border.
In August 2009, the SPP website was updated to say: “The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is no longer an active initiative. As part of SPP, an annual trilateral summit was held between the leaders of the three countries. Following the cancellation of the SPP initiative in 2009, the summits continued as the North American Leaders’ Summit.
Shifting from the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America
On February 4, 2011, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama announced a new security and prosperity initiative with plans to “pursue a perimeter approach to security in ways that support economic competitiveness, job creation, and prosperity”.
On March 13, 2011, the Canadian government announced it was beginning a five-week consultation process “with all levels of government and with communities, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, as well as with our citizens on the implementation of the shared vision for perimeter security and economic competitiveness”.
I can no longer find the news articles I read at the time which accused the Harper government of controlling who discussed the issues involved in the Border Action Plan with the public being notably excluded. Best I could find was a comment:
November 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm
about “pulling a fast one” this is exactly what they did with regard to the Shiprider program and the Beyond the Border Plan. They even hid it in another bill and the NDP was demanding they do it as standalone legislation. The Council of Canadians was really incensed about this. Emphases are mine:
Council of Canadians on trade, issues, security:
The Beyond the Border working group, made up of senior foreign affairs and public safety bureaucrats, has already finished consulting business and corporate lobby groups – with only token outreach to labour groups.”
IOW, the public isn’t even mentioned as having taken part, though I do think I read somewhere on the site, a long time ago, that there was a minimal outreach for public input.
Council of Canadians Aug 29, 2012
“The Council of Canadians is warning the Harper government its short-lived public consultation on the proposed perimeter security and regulatory harmonization pacts with the United States is not a carte blanche to sign a deal that threatens the privacy, civil liberties and health of people living in Canada. The prevalence of input from business lobbyists in the two reports will only lead once again to Canada-U.S. border deal that benefits CEOs before the general working public, says the grassroots social justice organization.”
I have made a point of this regarding the IGA in my draft for sending to Finance Dept etc.
From the Council of Canadians:
Information will be shared responsibly and in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian privacy laws.
Unfortunately there will be no involvement from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in the development of those principles.
Sound familiar? I have yet to look into what specific privacy laws would apply here but I am willing to bet NO ONE would imagine that the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms contains sections that would allow Canadians & permanent residents denied entry into Canada, or be strip-searched by U.S. officers on Canadian soil. The reality is that so far, our Charter does not protect us from our own government changing laws so it can hand over information previously protected by PIPEDA to the IRS (via CRA). It is almost comical to hear the Charter referenced with regard to protecting us from the Americans.
While there was a lot of discussion regarding U.S. officers being exempt from Canadian law and operating under U.S. law prior to the recent announcement, I have yet to see anything addressing this.
I also was curious if Mexico has any similar agreement with the U.S.; recent developments since the election of President Trump would suggest not but it appears there was something in the works back in the early 2000’s.
How the Beyond the Border Action Plan becomes a lot more threatening for Canadians; Expatriates overseas are also under siege from the U.S. National Defense Act
As you all likely are aware, the Isaac Brock Society was started later in 2011. One of our earliest authors, renounceuscitizenship, on his own blog, had an interesting post covering this as well as some even more frightening possibilities.
reposted from renounceuscitizenship blog
Border Pact puts Canadians under new U.S. National Defense Act
Senator Rand Paul Speaks about the real war – The U.S. Government vs. The U.S. Constitution
If you value your liberty – watch Senator Paul!
I have read about two different legislative developments in the last couple of days. The first is the U.S. National Defense Act. The second is the new Canada U.S. security agreement. These are interesting developments.
First – The U.S. Defense Act
A couple of days ago I saw a link in the comments section of the Globe and Mail to an article about a new U.S. National Defense Act. The article describes an Orwellian situation. The author of the article commented that:
“The ACLU’s Washington legislative office explains:
The Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.
The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world.
The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself. The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday.
I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?
In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”
The senators pushing the indefinite detention proposal have made their goals very clear that they want an okay for a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown.”
On June 12, 2011, Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, has written Senator Carl Levin and Senator John McCain, expressing concern about this new National Defense Act. I recommend reading the complete letter, but it includes:
“One especially troubling provision of the House bill expands the military targeting and detention powers of the president well beyond what is authorized by the current Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The AUMF was enacted following the 9/11 attacks to permit the US to target and detain persons connected to the attacks or who harbored those responsible. The proposed provision allows for the military targeting of undefined forces “associated” with al Qaeda and the Taliban, as well as those deemed to be “substantially supporting” those forces, with no connection to 9/11. The provision is both overbroad and unnecessary. The military has not asked for more authority and the administration has said it does not need it. Of particular concern is the absence of careful congressional deliberation and debate on the issue, as occurred with prior AUMFs. Such an expansion should not be taken lightly when the consequence is the power to summarily kill suspects or to detain them indefinitely without trial. Should Congress wish to expand the president’s power to use military force it should do so in a bill intended specifically for that purpose, not by inserting a provision into a bill considered essential for other reasons.“
I suspect that, once again, (as was the case with FATCA) Congress has not read the law they are voting on!
Second – The U.S. Canada Border Agreement,
The Government of Canada AKA “Harper Government” has been negotiating a new border agreement with the U.S. The Toronto Star ran an article noting that under the agreement:
“Armed U.S. police officers will for the first time be allowed to operate in Canada along with the RCMP as part of far-reaching changes in Canadian-American border operations to be unveiled next week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama.”
I wondered whether this would mean that armed IRS agents would eventually come to Canada.
Third – Interaction Between The National Defense Act and the Canada U.S. Border Agreement
What is the possible interaction between the U.S. National Defense Act and the new Canada U.S. border security agreement? What would the implications be? Turns out that somebody has already thought about this. Have a look:
Agora Cosmopolitan, Canadian Sovereignty
“The U.S. Senate is moving to enact a law that would allow military troops to march on U.S. soil and arrest American citizens with no due process, no trial, no legal representation and no protection under the Bill of Rights. Americans could be thrown in secret military prisons, interrogated, tortured and held indefinitely without ever being charged with a crime.
It’s all part of the new “National Defense Authorization Act” (S.1867) which features a section called the “worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial” provision.
By joining the so-called Security Perimeter, Canadians will be also subject to America’s National Defense Authorization Act (S.1867).
The U.S. Senate is apparently rushing to get the National Defense Authorization Act (S.1867) passed to coincide with the official singing of the Security Perimeter.
In order for Canadians to get better access to Target, Canadians will be giving up all their rights to a Totalitarian State South of the Border.
Canadians will loose their rights and freedom if the apparent ‘archons’ associated with the Security Perimeter officially consolidate. U.S. troops through NORTHCOM will have open access to round-up Canadians protesting the Tar Sands, or Canadians doing anything which undermines the ability of elites to pursue insatiable profit and power. Do we, as Canadians, want to give up all our rights and freedoms in order to have easier access to Target?”
Dear Prime Minister Harper and President Obama – please, say it isn’t so!
Borders are becoming more and more difficult what with Canada’s ETA, the U.S.’s ESTA #FATCA etc….Is it really worth it to give up so much in the name of “security?”
Hopefully we will not see the worse-case scenario of people being detained, being strip-searched and the like. While I don’t see this border issue as an issue for expats with regard to #CBT, I have always wondered whether it would go further in terms of enforcement. Only time will tell.
P.S.- What do you think the U.S. is doing with all the video/film from the protests at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto in the last month?
C’mon, we’ve all seen the cameras……….
I will never go near the Canada-US border but right now I’m feeling I don’t live enough miles away. I looked over a map of Canada and I’m thinking Baker Lake, Nunavut might be a better location. BTW, that’s a good pic of the panopticon prison, Tricia. This is the stuff of nightmares.
“One might wonder, how on earth did we get here?”
We have lived as if democracy has an autopilot. It doesn’t. It crashed. The end.
‘U.S. agents can strip-search Canadians (in Canada)’
They can in Japan too. If they rape a Japanese or Australian, the US agent gets a free plane flight to the US. For murder, it depends on what kind of job they have here.
‘the events of 9/11 in the United States prompted “the war on terror” which drew Canada in whether we want/like it or not.’
Oh is that what it was. In the 2000’s when the Canadian embassy started taking registrations of Canadians living in Japan to assist us in cases of terrorism, I thought it was a delayed reaction to the 1995 gassing of Tokyo’s subways by the Japanese terrorist group Aum Shinrikyo. But now you tell us there was a different reason?
‘http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/news/canadian_sovereignty/2011/11/29/2021.html (NB: this link is no longer working)’
I will point out that US Customs has been operating in Canada since the 1950s.
I will also note this is a good example of the benefits of Trump’s election to Canada. If Hillary Clinton had won we would NOT be having this discussion even though the introduction of Bill C-23 pre-dates the US election.
Additionally Toronto Life did a good article recently where it discussed how it was “better” to enter the US through a preclearance station under present law.
Below is the existing pre-clearance legislation:
Thanks very much for providing a way to get the link.
What law in Japan allows for U.S. agents to strip-search people? Perhaps the Tokyo subway incident was the reason for the changes in Japan but as far as the Canadian and U.S. border issues go, I don’t see that as the cause for creation of SPP in 2005 (with 9/11 happening of course, in 2001). Are you aware of any articles, papers or legislation that would point otherwise?
Thanks for links, etc. I’ve always thought it was easier to clear U.S. customs in Canada but with possibilities such as being detained after intending to turn back, make one wonder……..
I don’t think the lawyer in the Toronto Life article is aware of Bill C-23:
Bill C-23 has not passed yet.
The logic the government of the U.S. is our 14th amendment to our constitution. It was put into place just after our Civil War (I don’t think any war is civil, but that is what they call it). Our courts, being stocked with activist judges who never miss a chance to misinterpret the intent of the constitution, have given unlimited rights to anyone who has one foot on American soil.
If they find a willing government, neighboring the U.S. they can decide which individuals can step onto that soil and turning them down, for entry in Canada, relieved them of all that court time fighting an immigrant they didn’t want. However just last week, in a rambling opinion, The Ninth Court Of Appeals, has granted rights to people outside the U.S. who may have an idea they want to come here and the current government, has said they want to vet them more thoroughly, than those from some other country
such as a difference between a blond blue eyed Swedish person and a dark complected Muslim from a Muslim country, with no functioning government.
Unless this Rambling opinion is overturned by a higher court, it becomes law and even a person who has never set foot in the U.S. and has not applied for entry, has the right to sue for preferred treatment, by the U.S. What an absurd bunch the U.S. courts have become!
Yes, but given the likelihood that it will, I would think he would have qualified the statement somewhat.
I would add though that there are already more people who oppose Bill C-23 than opposed the FATCA Bill including some prominent Liberals such as Warren Kinsella.
This is pretty vile, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Currently, if you don’t like the way your chat with US customs is going, you can turn around and walk back out of the pre-clearance area.
Under the proposed law, US customs could detain you in order to interrogate you as to why you want to turn around. This does not mean they can incarcerate you or ship you off to the US, just that they can delay and harass (and possibly strip search) and certainly ban you from future visits (as they can do today).
Not good, but not quite the same as being kidnapped straight out of the airport.
Below are some comments I made on Facebook.
I personally would like to know what the “stick” is for going along with these changes. The “carrot” as I understand it is the US will open “new” pre clearance location at Toronto Island Airport and Quebec City Airport. In my mind I am not sure this is much of a carrot. Preclearance at Toronto Island will basically benefit a single airline(Porter). I would really like to know what the US will do if Canada does NOT implement this legislation.
“I suspect Porter for example would like to fly from Toronto City Airport to LaGuardia and Reagan National which don’t have US Customs facilities however, both LGA and DCA are slot controlled which means it might actually be quite difficult for Porter to start service to this two cities. Perhaps they could get the FAA to “reallocate” slots from existing users but that would probably mean reallocating slots from an existing “US” airport’s flights to DCA and LGA something I don’t see Trump’s FAA doing.”
BTW, If you want to get into the US with the minimal of amount of US Customs trouble fly not just through pre-clearance but fly to LaGuardia or Reagan National where there are not even an US Customs on duty. As it is Pearson-LaGuardia is almost always the cheapest cross border flight on Air Canada.
Conceivably Porter might try to get both govt’s to get Air Canada to give up some of its slots at LGA however, they are currently arranged to facilitate hourly service between Pearson and LGA and AC uses much bigger planes than Porter.
Despite the attempts to normalize these new powers that could (and likely will) be given to US customs agents it’s still a step too far because after this step comes another step and so on and so on. However, I guess it’s not for me to complain because I’ll never be face to face with these gun-toting, foreign gatekeepers … until they set up a 100 mile no rights zone on the Canadian side of the border and US border patrol agents are invited in to stop and interrogate drivers and passengers who might be thinking about glancing southward with resentment in their hearts. I’d advocate for a 3000 mile long wall at the Canada-USA border if it would ease American’s anxiety but they’d make Canadians pay for it, like the Detroit-Windsor bridge. Frankly I’d like a whole lot less of this false security they want to impose on us because freedom and privacy are still relevant and highly valued by me.
@Pat Moon, “The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself. ”
In order to do this Congress would need to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act which prohibits the US Military from performing domestic law enforcement.
In defense of the US Military the fear should not be directed to them the fear needs to be directed towards the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Grahem.
The uniformed members of the US Military are NOT the crazy eyed loons rather they have been abused by the civilian leadership of the US Government at a worse level than expats. Do not ever think that the uniformed military is all happy clappy about Iraq, Afgahnistan, Yemen and every other sand pit. They are the ones that are bleeding, perishing, being horribly disabled, and then when they get home suffer at an underfunded VA Hospital and Congress debates cutting their earned benefits.
I actually like Pre-Clearance (Ireland) for the sole reason I could turn around and then go home. You knew in advance if your paranoia was real or false. Lets face it most renouncers/relinquishers are paranoid that we will be strip searched in a dark room and have something then planted on us!!
@ George O
Posse Comitatus is pretty much dead in the USA. They simply slither around it like they have done for years with the Symington Amendment which prohibits sales of arms to nations which have nuclear weapons and have not signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. They don’t even bother repealing these things anymore. They just water them down, ignore them and bypass them at will. So why don’t all good sovereign nations water down, ignore and bypass FATCA? Monkey see; monkey do. If the US can’t respect it’s own legislation when it is advancing an agenda, why should we respect FATCA?
“We recognize the security of our borders as a top priority. Together, we address security at our shared border and throughout our two countries, while expediting legitimate and vital cross-border trade and travel. We demonstrate daily that security and efficiency go hand-in-hand, and we are building a 21st century border through initiatives such as pre-clearance of people and integrated cross-border law enforcement operations. In addition, our two countries are committed to a coordinated entry-exit information system so that records of land and air entries into one country establish exit records for the other.
Recognizing the success of pre-clearance operations for travellers, we commit to establishing pre-clearance operations for cargo. We intend to accelerate the completion of pre-clearance for additional cities and continue to expand this program. Not only will these efforts enhance efficiency at our shared border, they will also strengthen our shared security. In the spirit of a more efficient and secure border, we will also examine ways to further integrate our border operations, including analysis of the feasibility of co-locating border officials in common processing facilities.
Because we share a strong concern about the increase in opioid-related deaths, our countries will work together on common solutions to protect our people from opioid trafficking.
Given the integrated nature of the infrastructure that supports our intertwined economies, cyber threats to either country can affect the other. We therefore commit to further cooperation to enhance critical infrastructure security, cyber incident management, public awareness, private sector engagement, and capacity building initiatives.”
The US has long standing arrangements also with Ireland. At Dublin and Shannon airports you go through US Immigration pre-clearance within those airports.
However I have never heard about anyone being detained or arrested merely being told entry has been denied. Also with Customs, the luggage goes along for the journey as usual and on arrival in the US, those passengers skip Immigration and go straight to the baggage hall and on to US Customs.
From memory I can’t remember if US Border Guards carry side arms in Ireland, but my gut feeling was looking at the immigration guy looked like he was carrying less ‘equipment.’
This arrangement is also in place in Bermuda.
IMO these pre-clearance should only be a document checking service not enforcing US law on foreign soil.
IIRC, Ireland is subject to the European Convention on Human Rights.
So sorry. This is off topic but it’s just so infuriating I can’t help myself. Admins please delete if you want.
Trump didn’t kill the TPP snake. It just shed its skin and emerged with a new name.
“What law in Japan allows for U.S. agents to strip-search people?”
The Status Of Forces Agreement gives a free plane flight to the US for a US agent who rapes a Japanese or Australian in Japan.
“Perhaps the Tokyo subway incident was the reason for the changes in Japan”
For the changes in the Canadian embassy in Japan? Yeah right, just like I said I thought it was, it really was a delayed reaction to the 1995 event, it really didn’t have any connection to the 9/11 events that occured in between (but didn’t occur in Japan). Or maybe I was wrong, maybe it was a delayed reaction to incidents of the Japanese Red Army, and still didn’t have any connection to the 9/11 events that occured in between (but didn’t occur in Japan).