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I'm sure the U.S. would have given them money for rooms at the Holiday Inn.
December 2, 2001 8:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm sure the U.S. would have given them money for rooms at the Holiday Inn. Canadian immigration officers say a lack of detention space forced them to release a dozen men into the Toronto area who are suspected of having links to al-Qaida terrorists. Good friends, those Canadians.
posted by nobody_knose (38 comments total)

 
Guess they feel pretty secure that these fellas will head south and leave the CN Tower alone.
posted by nobody_knose at 8:22 PM on December 2, 2001


I'm sure a lot of Torontonians only wish the CN tower wasn't on the skyline.
And I'm sure we're very sorry, but we barely have enough police/prisons/money to keep our own criminals - the ones who have been actually convicted of an offense - away from our citizens.
You want 'em? Come and get 'em.
posted by Nyx at 8:30 PM on December 2, 2001


wow...is the Canadian hatred for the U.S. really that strong, Nyx? things must be worse up there than I thought.

it's not like we're not talking about bank robbers or car thieves here - this is an organization that has killed thousands of innocent people (including many Canadians) and has publicly said it intends to kill more.
posted by nobody_knose at 8:49 PM on December 2, 2001


Nyx - we get all your good comedians, so you get all the terrorists that want to go after us? Hardly seems fair.
posted by GriffX at 9:06 PM on December 2, 2001


Good friends, those Canadians.
I didn't realize that Canada was bound so neatly by US standards. Frankly, I'm surprised that you're buying so strongly into what smells more like a minor story well-frothed by a chronically shrill media. We have rules, we have priorities, we have a conscience, and we have much in common with the States. But we define those things, and they might not always coincide with what the States thinks is important; that's life.

On Sept 11 we took in over 500 planes across the country at a moment's notice, and put a bunch of Americans up in our hotels and homes without charge. We changed our laws and our air travel guidelines to harmonize them with the American guidelines. But we still make the call on what happens on our soil. You would think that you could afford us a little trust on making those calls; speaking of being good friends.
posted by holycola at 9:17 PM on December 2, 2001


Also, since when is someone guilty until proven innocent?
posted by Kikkoman at 9:53 PM on December 2, 2001


The 20,000 Canadians who came to New York City this weekend in a show of support sure seemed like friends to me. Have we still not learned the dangers of tarring a group of people with one big brush?
posted by anildash at 10:08 PM on December 2, 2001


Good friends, those Canadians

Well, not of yours, any more. That's for damn sure.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:32 PM on December 2, 2001


Hear, Hear holycola!
posted by drgonzo at 10:56 PM on December 2, 2001


To any Americans who use this as a reason to be upset with our northern neighbors, holycola's absolutely right. This is a much smaller deal than the media's making it out to be, and Canada's been there for us before. Plus, they gave us Dan Ackroyd, Michael J Fox and Paul Schaeffer. So cut'm some slack. =)

"Officers said a record 60 claimants touched down on Tuesday, about 50 on Wednesday and more than 35 on Friday night. Officers are being moved from their regular duties, or working overtime, to process the claimants.

"We are getting swamped," an airport worker said yesterday. "We are trying to keep our head above water."


Why does this remind me of how some hackers attack servers with repeated hits or ..what are they called? Return to something attacks? Denial of service something? It's like the terrorists are attacking the system from many different little angles. They've compromised our airlines and our postal system. My guess is some of those hackers out there are not trying to help show the internet's weaknesses, but are sincerely trying to take it down, and the hackers who do show weaknesses in the cyberarmor of the world mischieviously are (either inadvertently or purposefully) trying to protect it from people who would seek to do it real harm.

But the terrorists know that capitalism is a house of cards, and all it takes is a little determination to eventually knock the whole thing down. If they can force us to stretch our resources to the breaking point, keep the forces of freedom "swamped" until they can't keep their heads above water, the terrorists think they can still win. A few more wild goose chases might be all it takes.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:03 PM on December 2, 2001


Good friends, those Canadians.

Frankly, that's a shitty thing to say.

I don't know a single Canadian who doesn't have positive ties with America, be that through family, friends or business. Though 9/11 didn't happen on our soil, we felt the pain, the fear, the frustration, the horror. We were affected very deeply by this insane act and everything that followed.

I understand your thoughts on this ridiculous release of potential suspects, but...

To tell you the truth, I'm very affected by your statement and want an apology.
posted by ashbury at 11:22 PM on December 2, 2001


"Good friends, those Canadians."

Horse's ass, that nobody_knose.

This type of thing also happens in the US. Resources are not infinite. Bad people slip through the cracks. If it was so obvious that these people and their associates were so dangerous, then shouldn't you be bitching at US immigration, the FBI and airport security?
posted by websavvy at 12:02 AM on December 3, 2001


I'm not detecting any disrespect toward the Canadian people; rather, governments actions are fair game, and what's at stake here is the worlds longest unguarded border. I don't want that to change, but it will very soon, because Canada has different standards for immigrant entry, and they can just walk across the border; we are the target for terrorists and economic immigrants...Canada is their port of entry. Nothing will ever break the US-Canadian bond, lets not let it happen here either.
posted by Mack Twain at 12:21 AM on December 3, 2001


Thanks for bringing up the border Mack Twain. The Canadian foreign minister last month made a speech in New York where he pointed out that each year Canada stops 50% more criminals from the United States than vice versa. He also pointed out that Canada has three times as many border guards on our common border than the Americans (at least up until September 11th). Both countries face enormous challenges in tightening up security without shutting down trade and or civil liberties.
posted by tdca at 12:43 AM on December 3, 2001


Actually, if you're not a Canadian or US national, it is not that easy to "just walk across the border". Take the word of a British citizen living in Vancouver on this. The problem is that some pretty suspect people have been able to get hold of Canadian passports and pose as nationals - but this isn't a problem with Canadian immigration policies as such as it is a security issue with the system by which passports are obtained.

The cynic in me suspects that there are a lot of people who'd like to beat up on Canada with the "lax immigration" stick because they just don't like Canada letting in all those damn foreigners.
posted by pascal at 1:31 AM on December 3, 2001


pascal, I've lived in northern Idaho, spent many weeks backpacking Montana, have friends who live in a small town in Washington on the border. From my personal experience, you can walk across the border. I like it that way, don't want it to change. If bad people are willing to take advantage of the good will of Canada, we certainly should'nt be blamed for noticing, or for expressing concern. No bashing here, Canada is cool and provides a safe harbor to thousands of people. The US needs to help them keep their programs, so we can remain 2 countries with a lot in common including free passage.
posted by Mack Twain at 2:00 AM on December 3, 2001


PS: Mack Twain - it's not my intention to imply that you are one of those people in my second paragraph.
posted by pascal at 2:00 AM on December 3, 2001


You want 'em? Come and get 'em.

Little late for that, ain't it? The horse is out of the barn. Nyx says, "Quick! Close the door!"

wow...is the Canadian hatred for the U.S. really that strong, Nyx?

Bet your sweet ass it is. A local radio host here in the States asked listeners who thought the 9/11 attacks were a good thing to call the show. Not good as in good because in the long run it will do this, that, or the other, but good as in the attacks were justified and Americans finally got what they deserved. Guess who called in? That's right. Canadians.
posted by David Dark at 2:41 AM on December 3, 2001


On Sept 11 we took in over 500 planes across the country at a moment's notice, and put a bunch of Americans up in our hotels and homes without charge. We changed our laws and our air travel guidelines to harmonize them with the American guidelines.

Thank you for that. Seriously, I mean it. If you guys ever get attacked by a terrorist organization, you know who to call for back-up. ;)

But we still make the call on what happens on our soil. You would think that you could afford us a little trust on making those calls; speaking of being good friends.

From the article:

Canadian immigration officers say a lack of detention space forced them to release a dozen men into the Toronto area who are suspected of having links to al-Qaida terrorists. Immigration officers say they had to release about 500 undocumented refugee claimants of the estimated 1,000 who showed in November at Pearson airport seeking refugee status.

You would think we could trust that you might choose for release 500 men out of a thousand who didn't have suspected links to Al-Qaida. You would think that. But you would be wrong.

Unless there were 512 men who had suspected links to Al-Qaida, and that was just 12 too many. Either way, it's only a dozen bodies. Got a spare closet or something in that holding area? Oh, the closets are full, too? Damn.

Spilled milk. The search begins.
posted by David Dark at 3:18 AM on December 3, 2001


I want to go a bit meta to this discussion and talk about xenophobia. First of all I find the idea of a Canada-bashing thread pretty laughable. I'm reminded of the anti-Mexican immigrant hysteria whipped up here in California. For a while a few politicians made their living bashing immigrants and calling for a militarized border. Their campaigns were partially xenophobic but they were primarily based on old fashioned racism. But Canada bashing? That's pretty classic xenophobia. Without Canada where would American culture be? Who would replace Celine Dion, Gordon Lightfoot, or Anne Murray? Think of the cultural havoc the isolationists could wreak!
posted by rdr at 3:25 AM on December 3, 2001


Good friends, those Canadians.

Damn straight.

And don't forget this, either.
posted by mcwetboy at 3:33 AM on December 3, 2001


[It's been a long time since troops marched south and set fire to the White House.]
posted by pracowity at 5:54 AM on December 3, 2001


I find it rather comforting to have a real democracy to our north. Thanks Canada! Is it difficult for a US citizen to gain Canadian citizenship? The cool weather and good socialist democracy type government suits me.
posted by nofundy at 6:19 AM on December 3, 2001


will someone please explain why calling out Canadian customs for a specific act -- releasing people who THEY say may be connected to a terrorist organization that is publicly committed to "the destruction of the U.S." -- is xenophobia?
posted by nobody_knose at 6:21 AM on December 3, 2001


No, but the implication in your front-page post that Canadians in general are not good friends to the U.S., because of that one specific act, is.

Attacking Canada Customs is one thing; saying "good friends, those Canadians" sarcastically is another.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:40 AM on December 3, 2001


Reported on Yahoo news yesterday: Ashcroft is calling out the National Guard and helicopters to patrol the Canadian border. Feel better?
posted by ferris at 6:49 AM on December 3, 2001


I don't.
posted by ferris at 7:47 AM on December 3, 2001


nobody_knose = ugly American.
posted by tranquileye at 8:01 AM on December 3, 2001


Plus, they gave us Dan Ackroyd, Michael J Fox and Paul Schaeffer.

::: puts them on the list right after Iraq :::
posted by rushmc at 8:12 AM on December 3, 2001


nobody_knose:
you can't tell me that you didn't realize that by saying "Good friends, those Canadians" you were not just tarring Canada Customs but the whole country.
Admit it, you weren't thinking very well when you made the statement.

I'm still waiting for an apology.
posted by ashbury at 8:54 AM on December 3, 2001


What exactly made them suspect the individuals had ties to Al Qaida? I mean hell, if they were going by the guidelines the US is using for questioning, they might have just been brown.
posted by Nothing at 9:18 AM on December 3, 2001


OK, I agree that saying "those Canadians" was, in retrospect, too broad. So, here is the apology you requested:

I am sorry that I used too broad a descriptor in expressing my frustration with the Canadian government's action.

Having said that, the point remains that "not having room" for is just about the lamest excuse ever. You can continue to carry on about what you perceive as my ugly Americanism, of course. Or you can try to find out why the Canadian government would let potentially dangerous terrorists free.
posted by nobody_knose at 9:50 AM on December 3, 2001


Difficult to discuss since the link has already expired.

But I can say this about CANOE:

News links typically expire after one day. You get that day's news and that's it.

It's also the online presence of the Sun newspaper chain. These are low-brow tabloids that thrive on page 3 girls, lurid crime stories, heavy sports boosterism and a rather unsophisticated right-wing perspective (as opposed to a sophisticated right-wing perspective, such as was found in the National Post before Conrad Black sold it).

holycola called this "a minor story well-frothed by a chronically shrill media" -- that goes double when a paper like the Toronto Sun is involved. So a particle of NaCl is more than called for, especially since I can't seem to find the story in other Canadian media.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:07 AM on December 3, 2001


Would the U.S. give money to put them in a Holiday Inn in the U.S.? Not likely, since this very same thing happens all the time in Detroit.

It was recently exposed in Detroit that the INS there regularly just releases illegal aliens caught at the border with notices to reappear at such and such court on whatever date. The INS spokesman being interviewed by the Detroit media even admitted that most of the aliens just throw the notices on the ground as they leave and are lucky to be heard from ever again. This is after they had been released since there is no room for them anywhere.

This is not to mention the fact that the number of customs inspectors on the U.S. side of the border, at least up until Sept. 11th, remained at the same level for the past 20 years.

Good job America!

And as it is, for anyone to get into the U.S., they still have to penetrate U.S. security. So again, the U.S. is partly to blame if these people get in to the U.S.

Although, we may soon have checks for people as they leave the country as well as when they enter.

I, for one, like the idea of closer ties between both countries when it comes to security. Make the entire international U.S./Canada border a tight net but make the areas where we share a common border almost just like an ordinary crossing. Pay a toll, perhaps just an electronic note of who crossed and when, and that's it. It has been proposed but seems very unlikely it'll happen anytime soon.
posted by yupislyr at 10:18 AM on December 3, 2001


nobody_knose

Apology accepted.

Welcome to the frustration many of us feel towards the Canadian government in particular, and government in general.
It's not a job I would want to have, since it's virtually impossible to please everybody.
posted by ashbury at 12:29 PM on December 3, 2001


hmm...note to self: never throw out a quick comment on MeFi.
Anyway.

Canadians called that radio show? Well, nuke us out and blow me down. Imagine having a democracy where people don't support a widely-accepted opinion! It's enough to make you wonder where the taxes we pay to the brainwashing programs are really going, eh?

Do we have room in our prisons? No.
Should we have released them? No.

Given the choice between releasing 500 violent offenders into your city, or releasing 500 people suspected of terrorism?

I don't know, what would you do?
posted by Nyx at 12:31 PM on December 3, 2001


Ya gotta like the National Post. Despite their political leanings, they do a good job of covering the issues.
posted by ashbury at 12:40 PM on December 3, 2001


I'm sure a lot of Torontonians only wish the CN tower wasn't on the skyline.

Yep, and I'm sure a lot of New Yorkers are glad to have the WTC gone.
posted by mw at 12:57 PM on December 3, 2001


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