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What's sovereignty, precioussss?
October 5, 2006 11:34 AM   Subscribe

The world's longest undefended border apparently gives the U.S. enough freedom to send in the FBI for routine investigations in another country. Of course, this is not the first time that American authorities operated illegally in Canada. How would Americans feel if it was the other way around? Pretty funny, eh?
posted by Kickstart70 (42 comments total)

 
It sounds like they just entered Canada as tourists. Tell me it never works the other way around. Of course that doesn't make it right.
posted by caddis at 11:48 AM on October 5, 2006


Canada is another country?
posted by Mister_A at 11:51 AM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Well they need to stop the pot from coming into the States from Vancouver some how.
posted by chunking express at 11:53 AM on October 5, 2006


This is the same as the US freedom to have armed Coast Guard ships on the Great Lakes for the first time since 1817.

In the post-9/11 world, the US can do whatever the fuck it wants. You're either with us, or against us. Now, watch this drive.
posted by birdherder at 11:55 AM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


What Mister_A said.
posted by keswick at 12:04 PM on October 5, 2006


chunking express writes "Well they need to stop the pot from coming into the States from Vancouver some how."

Just like we need to stop the handguns from coming into our country from the US...
posted by clevershark at 12:05 PM on October 5, 2006


Just like we need to stop the handguns from coming into our country from the US...

Apples and oranges. Guns have nowhere near the insidious threat of marijuana! Pot kills!
posted by brundlefly at 12:11 PM on October 5, 2006


If you haven't figured it out, this sort of thing pisses me off. What your neighboUr to be an ally in whatever half-considered misadventures you are gaming up next? Then don't play bullshit assholeishness with those allies.

Now don't get me wrong, I love the U.S.offucking.A. So much so that I went down to Alabama and stole one of your women, who came back to Canada with me and recently produced a hybrid North American. But get off the ego-kick that allows some pisspot tin dictator in a Buffalo FBI office to authorize crossing a border without someone higher up in the administrative food chain sending him to wash out the free toilets along the Alaska highway.

So, if you voters could just buy these guys a copy of Miss Priss' Country-Visiting Edumacation Guide, I'd really fucking appreciate it. And then kick them in the nards for any previous transgressions. kthxbye.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:22 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Pretty funny, eh?

A master stroke, executed with a pure concentration of will and sense of craftsmanship seldom wielded on the blue. Bravo, good sir.
posted by prostyle at 12:34 PM on October 5, 2006


Well they need to stop the pot from coming into the States from Vancouver some how.

no they don't
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 12:41 PM on October 5, 2006


Clearly what Canada really needs to do is get some nuclear weapons.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:50 PM on October 5, 2006


All the cool countries are doing it.
posted by Richqb at 12:54 PM on October 5, 2006


From the first link: It also says that about 30 per cent of FBI agents crossing the border to work in Canada failed to get "country clearance." In other words, they didn't get Canada's approval.

This was the most shocking part of the article for me. I can scarcely imagine what actually makes Canadian officials say no.

From the same link: Canadian officials say they have made no protest to the U.S. government about FBI agents operating without permission on Canadian soil.

*head explodes*
posted by stinkycheese at 12:55 PM on October 5, 2006


I wonder if this will have some blowback for Harper?
posted by edgeways at 1:03 PM on October 5, 2006


I think Poutine is a far more serious threat than doobie.
posted by sharksandwich at 1:05 PM on October 5, 2006


Metafilter: Went down to Alabama and stole one of your women, who came back to Canada with it and recently produced a hybrid North American.
posted by effugas at 1:05 PM on October 5, 2006


Are these interrogations in Canada like my girlfriend from Canada when I was in high school? The one none of my friends ever met, because I knew her from summer camp, and she and I had totally done it, so I wasn't a virgin at all, and she really existed! C'mon, guys, I swear she was real!
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:07 PM on October 5, 2006


So... wait, Canada sent troops a warship and helicopters to protect Hans island from the Danes,
A Danish warship sailed past Hans Island in 2002 and a group of soldiers disembarked and reportedly hoisted the Danish flag, an act Canada claimed was a violation of its sovereignty.

but repeated incursions by the US are ok?
posted by edgeways at 1:10 PM on October 5, 2006


While I'm in a white hot rage, here's another story on US-Canada relations from the CBC. Canada should sign on to missile defence: Senate report

Choice bits:

Canada should not waste military resources on defending the Arctic, but should sign on to the U.S. ballistic missile defence program

Hmmm...let's examine the logic here:

"If there is the tiniest chance that it could [work], why would we turn up our noses at the opportunity to be a partner in this project?"

One paragraph later:

"There is no serious threat to Canada through the Arctic," the report says, adding that the chances of the Arctic itself being a military target are "ridiculously low."

*head explodes again*

I wish Trudeau would rise from his grave, burn down the White House, and eat Bush's brain.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:16 PM on October 5, 2006


"I wish Trudeau..., and eat Bush's brain."

Not enough nourishment there to sustain a zombie.
posted by lordrunningclam at 1:22 PM on October 5, 2006


lordrunningclam: You're right. Maybe he could eat Condi's brain. She has a degree after all.

And, to (perhaps unnecessarily) explain, the burning of the White House thing is just sort of a reflex for Canadians who are mad about the U.S. It's sort of our historical trump card in these situations.

Anyways, yes, this is crazy. I sometimes wish the U.S. would just build a border wall clear up to the sky and be done with it. You guys let your nutty government destroy your country and we'll let our nutty government destroy our country; there's really no need for your nutty government to destroy our country too.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:43 PM on October 5, 2006


You guys take back Celine Dion and we'll pull our g-men out.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:07 PM on October 5, 2006


Kraftmatic: no deal.
posted by Merlyn at 2:17 PM on October 5, 2006


I cannot imagine how pissed I'd be if a Texas state trooper pulled me over somewhere in my neighbourhood, and I'm not even a cop. WTF is going on here?? This is crazy.
posted by jimmy76 at 3:01 PM on October 5, 2006


Whynot just shoot ‘em? They’re way out of their jurisdiction and pretending to be a law enforcement officer is a crime.
Oh, Canada, right, no guns, very polite, yeah.

Well, it doesn’t say “arrests” so, it doesn’t look like they’re pulling anyone off the street. I wonder what the legal mechanics are? Are they deputized or acting in the interest of the Canadian government (for LE purposes) etc?

Reminds me (somewhat) of the situation with U.N. commanders being placed over U.S. troops. Same misgivings. There may be some legal protections that Canadians have (or not) that the FBI has not sworn to uphold. I’m certain they’re familiar with the (Canadian) law, but if some Mexican Federales came into the U.S. in a similar manner and investigated someone, I’d want the target’s civil rights respected in the same way.
Indeed, if you expect to make the arrest stick, you would have to adhere to the law. (YMMV - post 9/11 ad hoc law cynicismfilter)

Still, there is no real reason to follow their orders. A buddy of mine refused to follow the orders of a plainclothes cop who had pulled him over (in the officers’ civilian car) and insisted a squad car come (he called 911). Judges, in Illinois at least, are very understanding of the dangers of phoney cops. (Just had a rape out here by a phoney cop who pulled a woman over).
posted by Smedleyman at 4:07 PM on October 5, 2006


It seems like this could be blown out of proportion, having no idea what these investigations include. They could be just going to the Canadian Office of Public Records or something.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:11 PM on October 5, 2006


My fear is that the RCMP may be completely lying, and the truth is that the Texas officers are training our RCMP officers.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:22 PM on October 5, 2006


Well, even if they're, "just going to the Canadian Office of Public Records", they have to go through the proper channels, don't they?
As the OP asked, what if the shoe were on the other foot? Look what a hissy fit Americans had over the French government not rubberstamping all their post 9-11 craziness. Trying to rename french fries, for crying out loud.

Just imagine if it emerged that French government agents were operating in the U.S. after being told they couldn't. Who cares what they were doing? I'd say it would be difficult to overestimate the U.S.'s reaction, short of nuking and/or invading France.

But our officials don't even have an official reaction. It's just pathetic.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:28 PM on October 5, 2006


This man is afraid:
posted by orthogonality at 5:28 PM on October 5, 2006


Oh, Canada, right, no guns, very polite, yeah.

That's the ticket. We just want to keep them thinking that way. We don't have any high-powered hunting rifles up here at all, no siree. Nothing for your NRA to see, nothing for potential invading FBI agents (or B52's) to be worried about 'tall.
posted by bonehead at 5:59 PM on October 5, 2006


Well, even if they're, "just going to the Canadian Office of Public Records", they have to go through the proper channels, don't they?

I meant - if they're just performing actions that are allowed to any Canadian or US visitor to Canada I don't see a big problem. Likewise I wouldn't care if someone from the RCMP came to the US and looked up publicly available information, talked to people, or something else that I could do.

I hope such things in Canada don't require "proper channels" and if you mean the proper FBI channels for permission to go to Canada that's more an FBI internal matter than an international one.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:59 PM on October 5, 2006


In fact, I enourage ALL FBI BORADER AGENTS to get out in the clean fall air RIGHT NOW before the weather turns. Be sure to wear browns with light fawn patches to match the spectacular foliage.
posted by bonehead at 6:01 PM on October 5, 2006


From the first link: It also says that about 30 per cent of FBI agents crossing the border to work in Canada failed to get "country clearance." In other words, they didn't get Canada's approval.

This was the most shocking part of the article for me. I can scarcely imagine what actually makes Canadian officials say no.


Perhaps they wanted to come armed? Or expressed intentions that ran afoul of some (braver soul than our PM) border guard?

Canadian officials say they have made no protest to the U.S. government about FBI agents operating without permission on Canadian soil.

Ah yes. If you haven't figured it out already, the defining characteristic of our politicians isn't "niceness" -- it's extreme cowardice.

"If there is the tiniest chance that it could [work], why would we turn up our noses at the opportunity to be a partner in this project?"

"There is no serious threat to Canada through the Arctic," the report says, adding that the chances of the Arctic itself being a military target are "ridiculously low."


Canada: giving it away wholesale.
posted by dreamsign at 6:19 PM on October 5, 2006


dudes, if they don't stop the pot, what else will they have to do? stop real crimes? come on!
posted by chunking express at 6:32 PM on October 5, 2006


It always amuses me to see Americans thinking Canada has no guns. Last statistic I saw put it at almost 22% of Canadian households with firearms. Certainly nowhere near America's level, but certainly not gun-free.
posted by nightchrome at 6:41 PM on October 5, 2006


I think I'm going to have to put in longhand my opinions and a bunch of facts, and send my missive off to my various pinheaded representatives. The lack of spine our politicians show is not, I think, representative of our people. A Canadian that wants to be American is a rare bird in my book.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:43 PM on October 5, 2006


TheOnlyCoolTim: I meant - if they're just performing actions that are allowed to any Canadian or US visitor to Canada I don't see a big problem.

I don't get the impression from the article that that's what's going on. To wit:

...about 30 per cent of FBI agents crossing the border to work in Canada failed to get "country clearance." In other words, they didn't get Canada's approval.

Obviously, they weren't being denied, "actions that are allowed to any Canadian or US visitor to Canada". As dreamsign suggests, they likely would have wanted to be armed, and I wouldn't be one bit surprised if they wanted to infiltrate organizations they might deem 'potentially subversive' or some such.

My inference was that if these same placating Canadian officials actually denied a request, it must have been a pretty 'far out' request.

if you mean the proper FBI channels for permission to go to Canada that's more an FBI internal matter than an international one.

So, in my hypothetical situation, it'd be more of a Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure matter, than an international one? Again, do you imagine that's how the U.S. government would see it? How about the U.S. media? Would FOX News go along with that assessment, do you think?

Don't you see how ignorant that would read to someone outside the U.S.? Canada is a sovereign nation. It is its own country. It is not the U.S.A. Yet you say the FBI's presence in Canada - 135 visits of which were unapproved by these sycophants, remember - is more of an FBI internal matter than an international one?

You do realise what international means, right?
posted by stinkycheese at 8:29 PM on October 5, 2006


Oh, but it gets better. Doris Day says it is all good.

My dear brothers and sisters to the south, I could have told you that electing right wing ideologues tends to lead towards this kind of thing...
posted by QIbHom at 10:06 PM on October 5, 2006


For those unfamiliar with Doris Day...
posted by stinkycheese at 5:30 AM on October 6, 2006


Stockwell Day is now Minister of Public Safety.

If the Doris Day comment is really confusing...go here for the brief explaination.
posted by QIbHom at 9:35 AM on October 6, 2006


The FBI was not always like this! Special Agent Dale Cooper was suspended for crossing the border during his little murder investigation.
posted by giantfist at 10:15 AM on October 6, 2006


Kickstart70’s post talks about US operating illegally in Canada, but the first sentence of his first link concludes, “all are done according to Canadian law.” I’m sure there are mistaken and rogue agents, as there are in general. It looks like the courts and probably the internal affairs units work to counter that.

But where is the evidence that this is an ongoing, widespread violation of Canadian sovereignty? The 2004 report from the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (OIG) (whole report, section at issue) says that the missing country clearances are provided by the U.S. attachés and embassy: they never were a Canadian permission. As of March 2004, the OIG recommended the FBI fix the clearance problem, the FBI agreed, and the OIG marked the recommendation as resolved. It wasn’t closed then because the changes still needed to be implemented, but it’s been two and a half years now. I’m sure the updated status is publicly available, at a minimum through FOIA.

Second, law enforcement cooperation between the U.S. and Canada happens routinely and formally in many arenas: financial crimes, organized crime, border control and customs fraud (see points 17, 23, and 24 especially), drug crimes, etc. In the last link, the Superintendent of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police summarizes, “"Today, you have witnessed the power of integrated policing. As criminal organizations do not respect borders, it takes true cooperation between law enforcement in our respective countries to bring transnational criminal organizations to justice."
posted by win_k at 7:36 AM on October 7, 2006


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