Racing through the border
Anotherof our boring editorials about the lack of real police in Stanstead. Why bother with flowerpots when you can race through the Customs office in Stanstead and then go to the nearest town where a hot coffee is available and wait to be picked up by the police and claim asylum status? And not get deported back to where they came from, namely the United States. Unless they dropped in from the sky, that is; all is possible.
All of this is due to a huge, as in HUGE, loophole in the application of the law and of the We will try to be brief. To be accepted as a refugee under this law, a person must apply either to Canada or the United States when they arrive in either country to ask for refugee status. So if you are coming from Africa, if you arrive in Canada you can legally ask to be accepted as a refugee at the airport. You will be accepted into Canada while your case lingers in court for years. If, on the other hand, you arrive in the USA and, knowing the Americans complete lack of humour in these matters, you want to settle in Canada, if you show up at any Canadian Customs office and ask for refugee status, you will automatically be turned over to the American authorities. All clear? But if you skip the stop at the customs office and simply cross over the street and don’t report, then you can ask to be admitted as a refugee in Canada and wait for years for your claim to be settled.
The problem is the same one that we have denounced again and again: Lack of proper policing, as in the permanent and continuous presence of police cruisers, marked and unmarked, in Stanstead. If the RCMP lack the proper manpower and resources to do this, they should ask and compensate the Sûreté du Québec to provide them with the proper backup to assure that at least two cars are on duty, twenty fours a day. This is not rocket science. Only a continuous presence, known by marked cruisers, will render Stanstead a forbidden destination for illegal crossing.
We have witnessed enough startled “What? There was a Customs office there?” people over the last year, arrested by the unmarked cars of the RCMP, to know that the problem is not with the force but rather from a serious lack of people and resources, a.k.a. a real budget to cover this problem.
Not being of a criminal mind, we are not completely stupid either. Jack, the guy who wants to bring something into Canada illegally, only has to get into cahoots with some illegal immigrant smugglers, find out when they will act, and zoom along behind them for the ride.
Now the Harper Government is all for law and order. So are we, but with a budget and respect of human rights.
This may be a problem. The incredible goodwill that the World had for Canada under the Pearson doctrine, endorsed by all Canadian governments, Liberals and Conservatives, is gone. Rather than admitting our fair share of refugees under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees guidance, we are blocking almost every legitimate claim, with them going to the same slow process as the illegal ones. This, along with blatant abuse of the basic rights awarded to any Canadian citizens at birth, the Omar Khadr case being on top of the list.
All of this is related, but for the time being, what is needed is a proper budget to protect the border at Stanstead on the Canadian side. We hope that the issue is raised in the House soon.
AFrenchlanguage lecture on “Water Mills & the Beginnings of the Townships: The First Mills of Bolton” by Daniel Chevrier and Hélène Buteau, Archeologists, Archéotec, will take place on Sunday, October 28, 1:30 pm at the Holy Trinity Church, 903 Bolton Pass Rd (Route 243), South Bolton. It will be followed by a bilingual discussion. There will be a drawing of an origi- nal engraving by William Henry Bartlett, 1809-1854, who visited the Eastern Townships around 1839-1840.
The Patrimoine BOLTON Heritage Association is working to preserve Holy Trinity Church by transforming it into a historical and cultural center while maintaining its spiritual vocation. Free admission, voluntary contribution. For more information call (450) 292-4822.