About Bill C-23, “armed US border guards in Canada”

First, go read: https://openparliament.ca/bills/42-1/C-23/

… this process started with the CPC government. But even that doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad.

If, as a Canadian, you have never travelled by air or train into the United States, the rhetoric around this bill about “armed American guards” on Canadian soil empowered to do “strip searches” can seem pretty outrageous.

Preclearance In Canada, for the USA

Here’s the thing … if you’ve ever flown out of Halifax, Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver on your way to the USA, you were already part of a similar set of rules.

In fact, if you’ve ever traveled to the United States of America by car, you have voluntarily put yourself at the mercy of the exact same set of rules.  As soon as you set foot in US territory, you are playing by their rules.

You have to go through customs and immigration on one end or the other, and it’s *better* for you to do it in Toronto than Detroit, for example.

Why? Simple; if you don’t want to be strip searched or surrender your electronics, or whatever, you can say no. They will likely tell you to go back to Canada, of course.

If you’re in Detroit, you have to buy another plane ticket to go home. If you’re in Toronto, on the other hand, you just walk down a hall.

Part of the

Part of the “undefended” Canada – USA border

However, to be able to enforce American laws on Canadian soil is actually impossible. So, what they do is write a treaty, like C-23, that turns part of — say Halifax Stanfield International airport — into “US territory” for number of years. They literally put a demarcation on the floor with “CANADA” on one side and “USA” on the other. If you cross that line, for purposes of the law, you are in the USA.

Conversely, to come back to Canada, you just step back over it. No additional costs to yourself required.


“OH! BUT UNLAWFUL DETENTION!” — Scary McDisinformation Guy

Would you rather be held on the other side of a painted line in Toronto, or on the other side of the Great Lakes in Detroit, Michigan? If they are going to detain you, for whatever reason, it’s a whole lot easier to get you back to Canada from Toronto, Ontario.

“OH! BUT EVIL AMERICA!” — Scary McDisinformation Guy

Sure, but … why are you going to the USA anyway, then? If you don’t like their laws and how they might treat you, why are you spending money on a plane ticket?  And likely a hotel and a restaurant?

“OH! BUT CANADIAN SOVEREIGNTY!” — Scary McDisinformation Guy

It exists right up to the Canada / USA border, where ever that line is drawn. If you like Canadian sovereignty, stay in Canada. Nothing in bill C-23 allows those US Customs / Border guards to cross into Canada and use US laws in Canada.


In fact, I happen to know that the protocol in Halifax Stanfield International airport when someone is forcefully returned to Canada at the internal border crossing is that the US agents walk you to the edge of the painted line where Canadian agents take over. They don’t even reach over the paint.

The truth of the recent “Justin Trudeau is selling out Canada” flailing is that most of the people doing the flailing don’t travel by air or rail out of Canada. The real intent of these articles can be summarized as “dezinformatsiya“. It’s just hyperpartistan noise intended to reduce faith and trust in the government.

I’ve flown from Canada to the USA several times on both business and pleasure. I’ve seen the process. It works.

If you don’t like the rules the USA wants to play by, don’t go to the USA. Don’t blame the current Canadian Federal government for being OK streamlining the crossing process on a billion-dollar-a-day shipping border.

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