May 24, 2009

Hey, Mr. President! What did Canada ever do to you?

From today's Montreal Gazette -- an interesting/satirical perspective from a Canadian.
Did you know Blackberry is a Canadian company? Created in 1984, it is headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario. A big hockey fan, although who isn't in Canada, CEO Jim Bulsillie is the guy trying to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and bring them to Waterloo, Ontario.

MAY 23, 2009

Dear President Obama, Like most Canadians I rooted for you madly and cried when you were elected President-of-The-World. So far, I think you've been a great leader, reaching out to the whole planet.

But you've forgotten one nation - Canada.

On June 1, you will officially defend the "world's longest undefended border," a border I've crossed hundreds of times. From now on, we Canadians need passports to enter the U.S., a major hassle for truckdrivers, boaters and shmoes like me who can no longer cross to buy cheap Polo shirts without remembering to pack passports for the whole family.

This will also end a long U.S.-Canada tradition - the army of under- 21 U.S. college students who pour into Canada for their first legal drinking binge. Many won't bother to get the passports they'll need to get back into the States - so we may have to keep them.

Why the change? Our nations always boasted "the world's friendliest border," but now you Americans see us as Afghanistanada, a terrorist haven with porous borders guarded by Frosty the Snowman. Your politicians rant about our supposedly lax security. Last week, even Hillary Clinton talked about "hardening" the U.S.-Canada "water borders" with more patrols, as if the Great Lakes were filled with Somali pirates.

Meanwhile, your new Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, told CBC the reason for the new passport law was that the 9/11 terrorists "entered our country ... across the Canadian border."

Hello? Fact check - or as CNN always says, "time to keep'em honest." Sorry Mr. President, but none of the 9/11 terrorists came across the Canadian border. You let them all in yourselves with your lax security - so if anything we should be toughening our border against you.

Our only would-be Canadian terrorist was Ahmed Ressam back in 1999 and they caught him at the border. But somehow the idea Canada was Jihad Training Central for 9/11 bombers
became an urban myth - part of a "blame Canada" list that includes mad cow, SARS and any U.S. blizzard.

Yes, Mr. President, I know your border policy is just a continuation of Bush-league ones you inherited. But you don't have the excuse Bush did: He was dim and you're brilliant. So why blame us? Are you trying to show Americans you're not as liberal as you look? I can hear the cabinet meeting:

Adviser: Well, sir, you're looking a bit soft on foreign policy. You've opened up to Cuba, offered to talk with Iran's "I'm-a-dinner-jacket" and negotiate with Hamas and the Taliban. You've got to show some toughness somewhere, sir.

Obama: Okay, I hear you. Let me check my BlackBerry here for a list of countries to see where we can make a tough stand. Hmm ... Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Aruba - hey, how about Azerbaijan?

Adviser: No need, sir. We've already found a country - Canada!

Obama: But they're completely harmless. They're our best friends.

Homeland: Exactly, sir. They'll never fight back.

Sorry, Mr. President, I understand America's frustration. Eight years after Sept. 11, you still can't find Osama, you're fleeing Iraq and your banks are broke. But why take it out on Canada?

Do you really think demanding passports from 35 million Canadians will stop terrorism, any more than seizing elderly ladies' shampoo at the airport? Professional terrorists don't arrive at the border with a crumpled Canadian Tire card, then plead to get in. They have real fake passports.

Europe has gone the other way and eliminated all borders - you can drive from Spain into France without noticing. Meanwhile, we need a passport to ski in Vermont, which many Quebecers consider part of Canada.

What next? Will you build an Ice Curtain between our countries and jam our TV stations in the U.S. - to prevent Rick Mercer making fun of you? Search and seize our hockey teams at airport security and confiscate their skates?

It's time Americans learned the truth about Canada, instead of the jokes they hear from late-night comics.

Just last Tuesday, Jon Stewart said the only reason Canada can afford medicare is that "Canadians don't get sick, because they eat trees, In fact the closest living relative to the Canadian is the beaver." "Oh," tittered Stewart's guest." Won't that offend your Canadian viewers?

"No," Stewart retorted, "Canadians don't watch TV. They just got this new thing called radio and they sit up all night listening to the Lone Ranger."

Exactly right. In fact, we're way too busy listening to Tonto to go and make bombs - or carry passports. So President Obama, hear this: We're not going to take it anymore!

Open that border and shape up - or ship back that made-in-Canada BlackBerry right now.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

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