Monday, September 19, 2011

Cross-border Raidin'

Yarr! Today be Talk Like A Pirate Day. It be apropos, too, since today, thanks to the landlubber Doc Dawg, I did find that the scurvy dog of a PriMin'ster o'Canada, Stephen "Blackheart" Harper, be happily makin' plans to be forcin' Canadian autonomy to walk the plank.

Seems th' Cons in power here been schemin' wit' the Prez o' them United States to allow the Queen's navy to cross the border soutwards, in return for allowin' the longish arm o' the Amerikin law to reach up in ta Canada, unner the guise o' chasin' down terrists an' protectin' the public from varyin' forms o'piracy. He s'posedly be doin' this inna hopes of convincin' that Republikin lap dog Obama to open up th' border to more trade. But the way the Yanks been tossin' their freedoms and due process overboard to the sharks be makin' me fear they be exportin' even more of the US-type prison system up northwards.

Seriously though, all pirate-talk aside, we all know precisely what is going to wind up happening if American police are allowed to chase criminals into Canada. American conservatives are freaking out about the thought of UN or Sharia law being implemented in the States, neither of which is even remotely possible at any point in the near (or distant) future. Ten days ago, Ed Brayton pointed out that the Patriot Act, which was supposed to allow National Security Letters and sneak & peek warrants to fight terrorism, has been used overwhelmingly in drug investigations. Seriously, it's not even close. They've been used 15 times to investigate terrorism, 122 times for fraud, and 1,618 for drugs. I expect the exact same thing to happen with allowing American police to come into Canada.

Love him or hate him, the whole Marc Emery extradition saga was a slap in the face of the authorities in the American drug war. Essentially, Marc Emery was arrested and extradited to the U.S. for sending marijuana seeds through the mail, something which is not a crime in Canada. Obviously, Canada has a slightly more relaxed attitude to drugs, especially marijuana, than the United States does. Hell, we briefly flirted with decriminalizing it in the early 2000's, until the United States flexed their muscle with the Liberal government of the time in a successful bid to kill the bill.

Stephen Harper has been working to introduce minimum sentencing rules and increase the penalties for drug offenses, especially targeting cannabis, and he's building more prisons, so one can expect that he's planning more legislation to fill those prisons. However, due to the general Canadian acceptance of cannabis use (a 2009 Angus Reid poll had 53% of Canadians agreeing with the statement, "The use of marijuana should be legalized"), it might cost him politically if he were to pursue a drug war with too much zeal.

If the Conservatives can't convince Canadians to embrace the war on drugs, the next best thing would be to almost literally import the American war on drugs into the Great White North. The ability of American drug enforcement to enter Canada while investigating drug crime is the simplest way to bring US drug law across the border.

I don't do drugs, but even the idea of that sends a chill up my spine. Most worrying: once American cops have their foot in the door, what's to stop them from expanding those powers? Once those powers are in place, what Canadian government could possibly stand up to the US government, the gatekeeper for our largest trade market who could decimate our economy in an instant by closing the border, and tell them their law enforcement is no longer welcome in Canada?

We are a hair's breadth away from becoming the 51st state in the American drug war.

Yar, even speakin' pirate-ese don't make me feel no better.

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