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
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:
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.
“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:
http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/news/canadian_sovereignty/2011/11/29/2021.html (NB: this link is no longer working)
“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!
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……….