Security Perimeter: handguns and borders
Date: Saturday, January 21 2006
Last night was the final all-candidates' meeting in Ottawa West - Nepean, on January 19, 2006 - which was focused on policing and security. Unfortunately the Liberal candidate who should have answered for Paul Martin on this subject was not present to reply to this question, the question to Mr. John Baird of the Conservatives was stated more or less as follows:
"As a Canadian I totally support the ban on handguns. I wish I could have put this question to the Liberal candidate who's not here, since it's the Liberal government which has been negotiating a "security perimeter" of North America agreement with the U.S. and Mexico, with integrated military and policing. If we have a new Prime Minister, he will be expected to continue the process as the American government is really pushing for this. By 2010 this agreement is supposed to be final and in force. It calls for a single secure border around the continent, and the former Canada-US border will rendered non-effective from a security point of view (or perhaps even wiped out altogether). This is going to be an open-border deal with a country whose population has a deep cultural commitment to the right to bear arms, and a handgun in every pocket and purse. So what I want to know is, how would a Harper government keep handguns out of Canada? "
[REFERENCE: http://www.atsnn.com/story/149468.html ], as well as various news reports on continental-security negotiations in the past year.]
Mr. Baird admitted that he didn't know, and even told the questioner, "You probably know more about this than I do."(!) At least he was honest about that. However, now it appears that Baird has a bit of a conundrum to answer, since he was saying earlier in the meeting how much he supported the ban on handguns.
Earlier in the meeting, Mr. Baird had even complained that nothing was done about cars coming into Canada which never stopped at the border, with the obvious implication that people entering in that manner might not be just impatient travellers. Exhibiting disregard for border controls suggests that they are engaged in some type of smuggling, or carrying drugs or banned weapons.
(Or maybe their photo-ID licence plate gives them carte blanche, if Whelan Costen's post about implications of RFID is correct. In that case, all the smuggler has to do is to have connections and to borrow such a car, so that it's not reported as stolen.)
I certainly agree with Mr. Baird's concern about cars speeding into Canada without stopping. Will such unmonitored entries to Canada be the norm in this very near future, 2010, when the common security perimeter is to be set up?
It's a matter of grave concern that a Conservative party candidate does not know about the continental security-amalgamation agreement that's already in the works, or the implications of this for public security and safety.
If Mr. Harper does have knowledge of it or plans for what he's going to negotiate, he hasn't taken the trouble to inform the candidates in the trenches about how he would handle these negotiations. Will he tell Canadians how far he will go toward opening the Canada-U.S. border for trade? Will this include trade in handguns and other concealable weapons, currently banned -- as well they should be?
After the meeting ended, the moderator (from CFRA, a right wing talk-radio station) told this questioner that he thought the U.S.-Canada border should be strengthened!
Perhaps CFRA and other open-line programs will discuss this issue in the months and years to come (less than five years now till implementation of the plan). It's up to the Canadian public to tell the government of the day how far we are willing to let them go in regard to opening our borders.
It's no coincidence that the strongest influence on Harper and his "reformed" Conservatives is the ideologue Tom Flanagan, American-born professor of political science in Calgary. Noted for racism and misogyny, he has been heavily pushing the American right's ideas in Canada in his many publications.
An article in the Walrus magazine describes his highly divisive stance and hostility to Quebec, natives, and women, citing his published works and his high-up connections in Washington. See:
"Today, Flanagan's work remains an explosive topic, but few of his colleagues are willing to criticize him – at least on the record. After an introductory political-science textbook he co-authored was dropped from Ontario's approved list of high-school texts because of its "racial, religious, and sex bias" against women and Jews, he became active in the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, an aggressive lobby of professors fighting political correctness, on whose board he now sits.
"Certainly, by last June there was no lack of opinion that Flanagan's own writings were controversial, if not right off the mainstream map. As the Conservatives' campaign director, he seemed perfect fodder for the sort of Liberal attack ads already depicting Stephen Harper as a scary extremist with a hidden agenda. The mystery is why Paul Martin's admen didn't jump on that tailor-made target."
That article references the 2004 election. So now it's a puzzle that even though in this election the Liberals did launch attack ads based on verifiable information, they have been withdrawn. Even turncoat Liberals were found to apologize for ads that are based on withheld facts.
Why are these facts being withheld?
It's more than ironic that Harper's "stand up for Canada" campaign is being directed from behind the scenes by an American intellectual whose ideas, if carried out, will split up and probably terminate this unique country.
If you treasure Canada as the best place on earth to live, you cannot vote for a Harper candidate.
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on January 22, 2006]