Untimely Observations

Socialist Soviet Republic of Kanuckistan


I read with interest Dr. Srdja Trifkovic’s account of his most recent experiences with the Canadian border authorities, who once again have denied entry to a law-abiding citizen on spurious or hastily manufactured grounds. This comes only some months after Richard Spencer’s own experiences, which resulted in him too being denied entry to the Great White North. And they are not the only ones. Even politically incorrect liberals like George Galloway, and peaceful U.S. protesters against the war in Iraq, have been banned. Here is a perplexing account by one of them:

The invitation said six members of the Canadian Parliament were to speak October 25 on Canada's Parliament Hill as members of a panel called "Peacebuilders Without Borders: Challenging the Post-9/11 Canada-US Security Agenda." I arrived at the Ottawa airport on the morning of October 25 expecting to be met by three members of Parliament and to hold a press conference at the airport.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Codepink Women for Peace and Global Exchange, was also invited by the Parliamentarians, but had been arrested the previous day for holding up two fingers in the form of a peace sign during the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing in which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified on Iraq, Iran and Israel-Palestinian issues. The October 24 committee hearing began with Codepink peace activist Desiree Fairooz holding up her red, paint-stained hands to Rice and shouting, "The blood of millions of Iraqis is on your hands." As Capitol Hill police took her out of the House hearing, Fairooz yelled over her shoulder, "War criminal, take her to the Hague." Shortly thereafter, two Codepinkers were arrested for just being in the room, and brutally hauled out of the hearing by Capitol police. An hour later, Medea and a male Codepinker were arrested for no reason. Four of the five had to stay overnight in the District of Columbia jail; Medea was one of those and missed the trip to Ottawa.

I presented immigration officials our letter of invitation from the Parliamentarians that explained Medea and I had been denied entry to Canada at the Niagara Falls border crossing on October 3, 2007, because we had been convicted in the United States of peaceful, non-violent protests against the war on Iraq, including sitting on the sidewalk in front of the White House with 400 others, speaking out against torture during Congressional hearings, and other misdemeanors. The Canadian government knew of these offenses as they now have access to the FBI's National Crime Information database on which we are listed. The database was created to identify members of violent gangs and terrorist organizations, foreign fugitives, patrol violators and sex offenders - not for peace activists peacefully protesting illegal actions of their government.

The immigration officer directed me to a secondary screening, where my request to call the members of Parliament waiting outside the customs' doors was denied. My suggestion that the letter of invitation from the Parliamentarians might be valuable in assessing the need for me to be in Canada was dismissed with the comment that members of Parliament do not have a role in determining who enters Canada. I suggested the laws enacted by the Parliament were the basis of that determination. I added that the reason I had been invited to Ottawa by Parliamentarian was to be an example of how current laws may exclude those whom Canadians may wish to allow to enter. I also mentioned Parliament might decide to change the laws immigration officials implement. I also suggested, since the Parliament provides the budget to the Immigration Services, they might notify the Parliamentarians awaiting my arrival that I had been detained. The officers declined to do so citing my privacy, which I immediately waived. The Parliamentarians were never notified by immigration I had arrived and was being detained. Only when my cell phone was returned to me by immigration officers four hours later was I able to make contact with the Parliamentarians.

After nearly four hours of interrogation, I was told by the senior immigration officer I was banned from Canada for one year for failure to provide appropriate documents that would overcome the exclusion order I had been given in early October because of conviction of misdemeanors (all payable by fines) in the United States. The officer said that to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) for entry for a specific event on a specific date, I must provide to a Canadian Embassy or consulate the arresting officer's report, court transcripts and court documents for each of the convictions, an official document describing the termination of sentences, a police certificate issued within the last three months by the FBI, police certificates from places I have lived in the past ten years (that includes Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia), a letter acknowledging my convictions from three respected members of the community (the respected members that I will ask to write a letter have all been convicted of similar "offenses") and a completed 18 page "criminal rehabilitation" packet.

Additionally, besides obtaining the TRP, since I was being banned for a year from Canada, I would have to obtain a "Canadian Government Minister's consent." The officer said the TRP and the Minister's consent normally took from 8-10 months to obtain. In the distant future, to be able to enter Canada without a TRP, I would have to be "criminally rehabilitated" and be free for five years of conviction of any offense, including for peaceful protest.

The senior immigration officer took my fingerprints for Canadian records, escorted me to the airport departures area and placed me on the first plane departing for Washington, DC. In the meantime, the members of Parliament conducted the press conference and the panel without my presence, but certainly using the example of what had happened to me, and previously to Medea Benjamin, as incidents that the Parliamentarians are very concerned about, specifically their government's wholesale acceptance of information on the FBI's database, information that appears to have been placed there for political intimidation.

As if this were not enough, over the years we have also heard many equally bizarre, puzzling, and alarming tales of confiscations and book burnings by the Canadian customs authorities.

I have had my share of frustrations with them too. Over the years I have lost count of the number of times a packet containing music CDs supplied to our various distributor mail orders in Canada have been denied entry and either been sent back or stolen by the authorities. 

On the occasions when the packet was returned, the reason given was that there was no return address—a highly unlikely reason, as all our packets to distributors are sent out with return addresses. Even if that were true, the incident always begged the question: if there was no return address, how did the customs officials manage to get the packet returned to us? How did they know where to send it? The answer is that in each case they found the return address in the invoice that was inside the packet. Why did they return it then, instead of permitting it to reach its intended destination? Had they not already obtained the information they needed? Had they not satisfied themselves that we were not sending pipe bombs, doomsday viruses, rotting meat, stolen organs, or child pornography? 

On the occasions when the packet was stolen, I was forced to send out a replacement, with no guarantee that it would not also be sent back or somehow disappear into the customs officials' record collections—or their book-burning ovens. Sometimes it took three attempts before we were successful. And the most frustrating aspect of this exercise was the lack of any obvious or practical way to claim compensation from the Canadian customs, or even take them to task or embarrass them for the time and money they wasted me.

Even my wife, who occasionally likes to send letters or gifts to friends in Canada tells me that she has found it difficult to get anything into that country. Again, letters fail to arrive, packets disappear, or they both get returned to sender without logical explanation.

What do these people look like? What are their faces like? In the present context, the images I found were not encouraging:


And then there is the matter of Canada’s oppressive human rights legislation, state-sponsored thought limits, speech codes, censorship, and political correctness—the Canadian authorities’ Orwellian effort to keep Canadian citizens from ever seeing, reading, or hearing anything that might upset someone. 

Worse still, it seems some in Canada have fully internalised this mentality, as Jared Taylor found out in 2007 and Ann Coulter did in March last year: both were prevented from speaking by wild Leftist hoodlums, who have a well-established track record of violent intolerance towards tolerance. Presumably these thugs represent the core of that not insignificant segment of the population in Canada which, as a recent major survey has revealed, welcomes mass immigration from all corners of the world. (Out of the eight countries surveyed, Canadian attitudes towards immigration in general were friendliest.)

I need to stress that this is not a reflection of all Canadians or even Canadians in general. My criticisms here are directed at the Canadian government and state apparatus, at the class of citizens—most of them White—who staff that system, which through its embrace of political correctness, of a soft totalitarian or “muscular” liberalism, have made of Canada an inhospitable country for White folk in general and for those who do not embrace PC in particular.

Some may want to argue that this is a reflection on all Canadians because Canada holds democratic elections and that the Canadian government is what it is because Canadians chose that government, and therefore PC. Well, no: so-called democratic governments in the West are hardly a reflection of the wishes of the citizenry. Four in five Britons voted against keeping Tony Blair’s Labour government in power in the 2005 general election and yet the United Kingdom was saddled with another five miserable years of Labour. And it is the same elsewhere. If one looks at the aforementioned survey, most respondents—and often the overwhelming majority of them—in the countries survived were against immigration, against their governments’ pro-immigration policies, and yet said governments persist in keeping the floodgates open. (Bear in mind also that in the era of PC, many respondents will be reluctant to express an opinion that may be considered by others racist, even in the privacy of their own minds.) Worse of all, and most significantly, democratic elections in the West typically offer a choice of two flavours of vanilla. (Actually, I wish it were vanilla!)

Indeed, I have personal friends of long standing in Canada who are scornful and just as frustrated as I am with this insanity.

Not surprisingly, some of them have retreated into the forest.

I wonder how long this will last.