Nov 282009

The answer to my rhetorical question is clearly negative, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. Still, sometimes you have to wonder.

Like the other day, when our fearless guardians of Canadian sovereignty, our border guards, detained and questioned a US journalist for 90 minutes, apparently concerned that she might have something unpleasant to say about the upcoming Olympics.

I have no idea what they were thinking, but I am outraged. I never much liked the Olympics, but if this is the price we pay (not to mention Chinese mittens and incessant “I believe” television commercials that sound like they have more to do with televangelism than sport) I say, screw the Olympics, let them have it somewhere else, I don’t want it in my country, not even if it’s on the other coast, 3000 miles from here. It has a lot more to do with crass commercialism and performance enhancing drugs than true sportsmanship anyway.

And if border guards were concerned that an American journalist might damage Canada’s Olympic image… well, she doesn’t have to. Our border guards have done a splendid job already, thank you. I suppose if it were up to them, we’d have guard dogs, mine fields, and barbed wire, too, perhaps some second hand leftover from the Berlin Wall.

One of these days, I’m going to have another unpleasant encounter with them, and I am not looking forward to it. That is, one of these days, they’ll want to search my laptop, and I won’t be able to allow them to do so. That is because I will have taken the necessary precautions of carrying only a dysfunctional laptop with me, disabled by a password that I cannot retrieve. (This is necessary in order not to lie to them and to avoid not complying with their instructions.) No, I am not a kiddie porn smuggler, nor do I have any terrorist secrets or other unsavory stuff on the poor little machine. I just don’t accept the idea that a clueless border agent can rummage through my most personal material simply because I happen to be traveling internationally. To be rhetorical about it, this is not why I escaped from a Communist country 23 years ago.

 Posted by at 2:51 pm