Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good Fences part 1

As Vic and I were playing Stratego this morning, I noticed he was moving a piece stealthily towards my end zone, so I sniped it; you see, despite how much I love him, I am aware that good fences make good neighbors, and not being a doormat is the key to individual sovereignty. Perhaps I should mail a copy of the board-game over to Stephen Harper and ask him to invite Obama for a sleepover.

Back when we were all scarfing Bon-bons and  watching "Love Actually" over St. Valentine's day, Canada was having a ball allowing United States troops free reign to our homeland. To be precise, they are not allowed to just traipse over for the weekend; we have to invite them in cases of emergency, which here means floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the effects of a terrorist attack. The point of the program is to save lives, prevent destruction of property, and establish order. My Police State Panic pants were getting dusty from lack of use, so I am quite pleased to break them out for this occasion.

It is cold comfort, when considering this development, that Canada is capable of sending troops down south;  Even considering the greater frequency of catastrophes the United States experiences that could require our assistance, there is still a greater chance that we will require the sheer number advantage the States commands. The main concern that is being voiced is who will be doing the asking, why, and what will we do if we decide we are done with them but they will not leave?

The purported authority for inviting the troops up here is alleged to be the department of Public Safety Canada, which also deems Computer Viruses to be an emergency, and is responsible for a plethora of safety concerns such as Olympics and gang violence. In other words, there is a laundry list of reasons to haul the Americans up here to cover our butts. The head of the department is Public Safety minister Vic Toews, who has fallen a long way from the days when he defended citizen's right to protest, calling it a "constitutional right".

A lot of people have criticized the Canadian government for keeping quiet on the issue; while American sites are heralding the cooperation, there is no mention of the policy on Canadian sites, even the Public Safety Canada newsroom fails to mention the agreement. It is distressing that we have to rely on American news sites for information on Canadian matters.

The functional way this scenario will play out is that Canada is allowed tactical control of the troops, but Americans will still maintain command of the troops, so in a difference of opinion, their decision will take precedence. What I cannot help but wonder is how the Canadian police will establish control in case the Americans run amok, considering the lower fire-power, fewer numbers, and different mandate ("Serve and Protect" is a far cry from "Kill a Man Through his Nostril") For that matter, will the troops even be subject to Canadian laws? Does that mean we may be playing host to Blackwater troops, whose antics are pretty uncomfortable, and are decidedly NOT subject to foreign laws while conducting exercises?

Some Americans are concerned this is an American plan to override the Posse Comitatus, which outlines that Federal troops are not allowed to conduct law enforcement activities without the permission of Congress. The Americans are concerned because Canadian troops would not be held to this same law but apparently we are comfortable allowing those same troops to conduct law enforcement activities in Canada.

The final thought, for now, I have on the subject is the recent pipeline plans. With the flagrant bombings and multiple explosions being committed in Southern Alberta and B.C, the government could very easily declare them terrorist activities and bring in States troops to establish law while it builds the expensive new pipeline.
There is far too much implicit here to disseminate in one post; likely the rest of the week, barring exciting developments, will focus on unpacking this new agreement.

1 comment:

Andy said...

So you are asking a bear who has been known to take picnic baskets to guard your cooler from racoons while you set up a tent? Perfect plan!

Or, you know, you'll have more people hitching together in a love-not-war fashion. Dual passports for everyone!