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No pals in Canada
January 19, 2009 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Bill Ayers, arriving in Toronto to lecture on inner-city education, has been denied entry to Canada.

Ayers' supporters claim that the denial was politically motivated. In the run-up to his lecture, there had been at least some conservative protest aimed at denying him entry. However the problem is not without precedent.
posted by bicyclefish (127 comments total)

 
Additional coverage here.
posted by bicyclefish at 1:20 PM on January 19, 2009


Gives that whole "If X wins/loses Y, then I'm moving to Canada" thang a new feel, don't it? Who knew Ayers was a disgruntled McCain supporter?
posted by joe lisboa at 1:23 PM on January 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Off to Syria with him!
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on January 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


....And I still haven't learned the lesson about not reading comments on newspaper articles. Jesus.
posted by rtha at 1:28 PM on January 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh the conspiracy theories one could come up with.

In related news, Sarah Palin can see Canada from her house.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:30 PM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Katha Pollit on Ayres. Good piece.
posted by jonmc at 1:32 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wtf happened to Canada?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:32 PM on January 19, 2009


What the bloodclot Canada? Seriously. I need to make a list of MPs I need to punch in the dick.
posted by chunking express at 1:33 PM on January 19, 2009


Funny how Canada denied entry to Walid Shoebat a few years ago, and it didn't result in an FPP or accusations of political bias.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:36 PM on January 19, 2009


guess canada already has enough ayers, ay?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:37 PM on January 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


So Canada is all inner-city now? Cool.
posted by R. Mutt at 1:38 PM on January 19, 2009


Krrrlson, maybe you can go back in time and make one now? (And really, I suspect this is being posted because Ayers came up so frequently during the election, and i'm guessing you know as much too.)
posted by chunking express at 1:40 PM on January 19, 2009


I don't know anything about this guy beyond what I read in the first and third link. However, I would hope that it's standard practice to deny entry to people who plant bombs or commit other serious criminal offences. I'd like an explanation for why he's been allowed entry on other occasions.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:40 PM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


NIMBY.

Best Wishes,
Canada
posted by terranova at 1:40 PM on January 19, 2009


NIMBY.

To be fair, isn't the entire (continental) USA technically Canada's backyard? As a Detroiter, I'm constantly waving my fist at shifty Ontarians whilst shouting, "Get off my bridge lawn!"
posted by joe lisboa at 1:43 PM on January 19, 2009


felony conviction much? that kept mrs. fleiss out.

then again - I never got a conviction and yet canada didn't let me in either.
posted by krautland at 1:44 PM on January 19, 2009


They seem to be tightening down of late. A friend was denied entry at a border crossing on vacation after having her car torn apart and searched for three hours. Their reason for turning her away was because some of her journal entries were "a little dark."

Mind you, this is a woman with a chronic condition that occasionally leaves her bound to a wheelchair, so one might expect her journal to get a little dark.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:45 PM on January 19, 2009


From krautland's Flickr caption:
I can't tell you how many times customs officials and cops asked me how on earth I managed not to get into canada of all places.
So how did you?
posted by grouse at 1:46 PM on January 19, 2009


Mike Royko on Ayers:

I just finished wading through a long story about a former flaming radical leader named Bill Ayers.

His name won't mean anything unless you were around in the 1970s, when a group called the Weathermen decided that America was corrupt and immoral and they would have to overthrow it.

They were disappointed, however, when the majority of Americans decided that they didn't want to take part in a revolution led by a bunch of well-educated young twits from wealthy suburban families.

So the Weathermen had their big revolutionary moment when they got together in Lincoln Park, chanted a lot of mindless slogans, then ran down Clark Street smashing the windows of cars and shops.

posted by billysumday at 1:47 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mind you, this is a woman with a chronic condition that occasionally leaves her bound to a wheelchair, so one might expect her journal to get a little dark.

I am in the same boat as this woman. It's nice to know I might be denied entry into another country because I am glum.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:49 PM on January 19, 2009


Wtf happened to Canada?

I'd like to blame the current Harper Conservative government for this, but, in reality, Canada has become more "law-and-order"-focussed since 9/11. Prominent Liberals (the Liberal Party has, in the past, been responsible for Canada's warm and fuzzy image) have pushed the notion of deeper security integration with the United States, and "getting tough" at the border is one the things that's being done to achieve that.

Plus, Stockwell Day (who, as Minister of Justice, used to be responsible for the border) is basically a Rightist. He's tan, makes funny jokes and amusing to listen to, but he's a Rightist.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:50 PM on January 19, 2009


He had ibuprofen in his underwear. Prescription strength.
posted by orme at 1:54 PM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd like to blame the current Harper Conservative government for this, but, in reality, Canada has become more "law-and-order"-focussed since 9/11.

I would have thought Canada to be smarter than to imitate Dick Cheney-style governing. Shameful stuff. Oh well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:55 PM on January 19, 2009


So how did you?

short version of a much longer story: I was an F-1 back then and you need to carry a document with you across the border indicating you're still enrolled in the college that got you this visa in order to get back in. I didn't know that and got sent back.

A friend was denied entry at a border crossing on vacation after having her car torn apart and searched for three hours.

that happened to me as well and the canadian customs official was a total dick. it was snowing like crazy and he got his german shepard all over our seats to search for drugs. he was apparently pissed he didn't find any (at a border crossing. well, duh!) and didn't let us get out jackets out of the car while he was searching it one more time reaally sloowly. he also was less than friendly when I asked earlier if he'd let me take a picture of him with his dog.
posted by krautland at 1:55 PM on January 19, 2009


My theory, someone in the US put him on a watch list back during the final days of the campaign, out of anger/spite/juvenile-amusement. The list was shared with Canada. The rest is history.

I find it interesting that he had a lawyer with him, but wasn't allowed to speak to him.
posted by nomisxid at 1:56 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought the Right's efforts to link Obama to Ayers were silly, but Ayers seems to be a pathetic, laughable figure with his revolutionary t-shirts and steadfast belief that he was pretty damned cool to bomb things in the sixties. He seems to be playing the "tenured radical" role to the hilt.
posted by jayder at 1:56 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Blame Canada!

Dur, I always thought they were a little more than reluctant when it came to felonies. Err. Felons. Does anyone here have proof that they really are all "Come as you are" kum by ya when it comes to entering their country? I'm not speaking of gun policies or health care. Just immigration.
posted by cavalier at 1:57 PM on January 19, 2009


To be fair, it was pretty damned cool to bomb things in the sixties.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:58 PM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dur, I always thought they were a little more than reluctant when it came to felonies

Ayers is not a felon.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:59 PM on January 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well punch me in the memory hole, he ain't no felon. My bad.
posted by cavalier at 1:59 PM on January 19, 2009


He seems to be playing the "tenured radical" role to the hilt.

As an adjunct radical, I am simultaneously offended and relieved by your assessment.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:03 PM on January 19, 2009


If Bill Ayers takes over Canada, and nobody is around to hear it, does the tree make a sound? Or something like that.
posted by pwally at 2:03 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ayers is not a felon.

Neither was O.J. Simpson until a couple of months ago. But we all knew he committed a felony.
posted by billysumday at 2:05 PM on January 19, 2009


When I saw this on the front page, I thought, "Bill Ayers... Bill Ayers... I know that name from somewhere. Hmmm... How do I know that name?" Mystery solved.
posted by yeti at 2:07 PM on January 19, 2009


felony conviction much? that kept mrs. fleiss out

I don't think Ayers was ever convicted of anything.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:08 PM on January 19, 2009


It's nice to know I might be denied entry into another country because I am glum.

I was nearly denied entry to the US solely because I couldn't say for certain that my father isn't living in the US.

"Where does you father live?"

"I don't know. I haven't seen or heard from him since I was little. Maybe 6."

"Does he live in the US?"

"How should I know? Maybe? He could be living in China for all I know."

"Are you trying to enter the country to live with your father?"

"... No."

[Agent gives me an analytical stinkeye] "Okay. I'll let you in. This time."
posted by CKmtl at 2:09 PM on January 19, 2009


Neither was O.J. Simpson until a couple of months ago. But we all knew he committed a felony.

That makes about as little sense as a immigration officer making arbitrary, personally biased decisions about who does and does not get through. Consider it a warning sign, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:11 PM on January 19, 2009


What doesn't make sense, Blazecock? I'd think that regardless of felony conviction, the act of blowing up the Pentagon would probably get you on some sort of criminal watch list, no doubt shared with ally countries.
posted by billysumday at 2:18 PM on January 19, 2009


About as stupid as the U.S. refusing entry to Farley Mowat.

Seriously, does this form of blacklist security serve any useful purpose at all?
posted by fatbird at 2:19 PM on January 19, 2009


The last time I went to Canada my family and I were invited to exit our car and be interviewed in the customs shed. They asked me a bunch of questions, and asked my wife a bunch of questions, and then let us go. Other than taking some time, everyone was very nice, and the Canadian customs building was lovely.

As we drove away into Quebec, I mentally reviewed my interview and realized I had been less than fully truthful on virtually every question. For example, in the list of states I had lived in, I left off Massachusetts, where I was born and grew up. I was also asked whether I had ever been denied entry to Canada, to which I said no, although I had been, as a kid (long story -- don't even ask).

My favorite exchange though was this one:

Q. Have you ever been questioned by a Canadian border official?
A. Does this count?
Q. No.
A. Then no.
posted by rusty at 2:22 PM on January 19, 2009


I'd think that regardless of felony conviction, the act of blowing up the Pentagon would probably get you on some sort of criminal watch list, no doubt shared with ally countries.

Might as well get rid of immigration laws altogether, then. Who needs them? Border patrols will solely use secret lists to decide who has right of passage, from now on, and names on lists will be determined by backroom deals between right-wing political party members in neighboring countries. Sounds like a well-thought out solution, with no possibilities for abuse.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:25 PM on January 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


the reason that it's all so tawdry on the part of canada's security apparatus is mentioned by ayers in the MR article; he points out to the border gaurd that he was recently allowed into the country and that he has been there many times.

some level of coherence is neccessary for security theater to work, right? if there is no standard or coherent policy then the piece, as theater, is a failure. unless what you are attempting to do is mock yourself, i.e., "they said we have to fight the chinese today, but yesterday they told us the only good chinese are dead chinese." if they let him in yesterday knowing that he was a member of the WU and the SDS then they should let him in tomorrow as well. a well-rehearsed security ensemble understands that coherence is the key to a good performance.

unfortunately, i've never encountered a well-rehearsed security ensemble in any country; i wish i could have all my bakshish back, too.
posted by artof.mulata at 2:26 PM on January 19, 2009


Consider it a warning sign, I guess.

Of what? The Rapture? Encroaching Palinism in the ranks of Canada Customs?

I mean, I can't think of a legitimate argument for denying Ayers entry, but I can think of several plausible ones (being a former member of a violent, radical organization widely though probably erroneously believed to be operating cells in Canada in the 1970s, for example). And customs officials the world over do this sort of thing all the time (though generally to less famous people) based on bad to nonexistent arguments - American customs (sorry "Homeland Security") officials in particular. I mean, I had a friend denied entry when she was trying to fly down to Florida to watch the filming of a TV commercial she'd written (for broadcast only in Canada, the crew paid by the Canadian ad agency she worked at) because some overzealous crewcut at Pearson decided that was taking a job away from an American.
posted by gompa at 2:27 PM on January 19, 2009


Funny how Canada denied entry to Walid Shoebat a few years ago, and it didn't result in an FPP or accusations of political bias.

How do you get the third nail in, Krrrlson?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:27 PM on January 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


Might as well get rid of immigration laws altogether, then.

Ha! Yes, I was clearly advocating for the repeal of immigration laws! The laws are pretty well defined (no felonies) but the border patrol agent overstepped his bounds and made a mistake, claiming that Ayers had a felony. As Ayers said, he does have several misdemeanors, but no felonies - the felony conviction of course was thrown out on a technicality.
posted by billysumday at 2:33 PM on January 19, 2009


Q. Have you ever been questioned by a Canadian border official?
A. Does this count?
Q. Yes.
A. No. No I haven't.
[pause]
Q. But we are talking right now.
A. No, we aren't. [Jedi mind trick]
Q. Why are you waving your hand in my face and speaking in that voice?
A. I'm not [More Jedi mind trick] This is not happening.
Q. Do you want me to detain you?
A. We are not the travelers you are looking for...
Q. You know you are never getting into this country right?
posted by quin at 2:36 PM on January 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


Yes, I was clearly advocating for the repeal of immigration laws!

Well, what are you advocating? Clearly the incorrect application of law in this specific case was an arbitrary political decision and not intended, first and foremost, to protect the Canadian border.

Is the status quo of a border guard not personally liking your politics sufficient and acceptable to deny someone entry? Does that approach really secure borders? This doesn't seem sensible to me from a safety perspective; does this really make sense to you?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:39 PM on January 19, 2009


In the darkest tinfoil-hatted reaches of my soul, I can't help but think for a fleeting moment that this was orchestrated by the Conservative-led Canadian government to embarrass President-elect Obama.
posted by deadmessenger at 2:40 PM on January 19, 2009


well. i just finished that katha pollit piece on ayers that jonmc mentioned earlier in the thread... and all i can think is that she must be some kind of pompous asshole. who the hell let's her come to the party?

i get so sick of all these people who act like the really, really radical left in the sixties wasn't a neccessary part of the process or that they weren't the direct creation of the agents of repression in that era. these people were convinced that they were watching an assassination game get played around them for political effect and social control and worried that they and theirs might be the next pieces called on to the board. you can believe that or not, but you can't deny the murders of so many players in the radical movement at that time. and not all of them from nail bombs exploding.

and as for the hebephrenic qualities that some folks displayed back then who are any of us to judge? if you weren't there when they were murdering black panthers in their beds then you really can't get at what these folks were going through. these kids felt they were under pressure from a social system and a regime that played for keeps. how hard is that to remember when you go about casting disparaging remarks against them?

at least pollit has the sense to point out at the end of her little hit piece that the war did a lot more damage than the weather underground. wish she had mentioned cointelpro while she was at it. i just don't even understand why any editor allows someone as misinformed, biased and bland as she is to write about these subjects. these sorts of diatribes only bring hysteria to a history that it's better for us to understand than to just decry.
posted by artof.mulata at 2:47 PM on January 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: If it were me I would have let me in.
posted by finite at 2:48 PM on January 19, 2009


In the darkest tinfoil-hatted reaches of my soul

nice
posted by found missing at 2:49 PM on January 19, 2009


Did the agents of repression take away your shift key?
posted by found missing at 2:50 PM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Stockwell Day (who, as Minister of Justice, used to be responsible for the border) is basically a Rightist. He's tan, makes funny jokes and amusing to listen to, but he's a Rightist.

This is tan? By Canadian standards, perhaps.

And now I will never get into Canada again.
posted by oaf at 2:50 PM on January 19, 2009


"Did the agents of repression take away your shift key?"

no, silly rabbit, HITLER did!
kthxbi-sexual!
posted by artof.mulata at 2:59 PM on January 19, 2009


the reason that it's all so tawdry on the part of canada's security apparatus is mentioned by ayers in the MR article; he points out to the border gaurd that he was recently allowed into the country and that he has been there many times.

Having been in a similar situation once or twice, I would say the border guard's most effective reponse here is, "Just because somebody else didn't do their job doesn't mean I will not do my job." I have heard a few variations on that over the years.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:01 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I suppose it's for the better that it's probably just one misguided border official, not something more fundamentally stupid in the bureaucracy. Still, that's no way to run a country.

When I saw this on the front page, I thought, "Bill Ayers... Bill Ayers... I know that name from somewhere. Hmmm... How do I know that name?"

As did I. And then it came to me, he's probably that guy who I remember said some interesting things about education and how it works, which some of the educational establishment thought were pretty far out, but really just seemed like mostly common sense. But no, it looks more like this is about some other Bill Ayers who is a dangerous bomb-throwing communist radical menace.

My guess is the border guards thought the name sounded familiar and looked him up on Wikipedia, which has nearly nothing to say about whatever Ayers has done lately, but quite a lot about Weather Underground stuff.
posted by sfenders at 3:04 PM on January 19, 2009


ricochet biscuit, i get you. but the only problem i have with that sort of thinking in this type of situation is that we shouldn't have to encounter it. these guys should work like cogs and not just pretend to be machine parts. if one of them tells you it's a certain way then the next one you encounter shouldn't discredit that. how do we ever figure out what's going on if we constantly get different answers.

obviously we need a method for dispute resolution, but "i'm just doing his/her job" isn't the way. it always seems to me to be more a method of justification for what's happening in the decision making process of the operator than any sort of national policy.
posted by artof.mulata at 3:11 PM on January 19, 2009


Good on Canada - Ayers was probably smuggling ideas or sumpin'.

(new slogan idea: "Canada - we've joined the race to the bottom".)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:15 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Prominent Liberals (the Liberal Party has, in the past, been responsible for Canada's warm and fuzzy image) have pushed the notion of deeper security integration with the United States, and "getting tough" at the border is one the things that's being done to achieve that.

See this makes no sense. How is not letting Americans into Canada somehow supposed to "integrate" the U.S. and Canada? Over in Europe you see countries actually removing old border crossings as the E.U becomes more integrated. Seems like tearing up people's cars and not letting them cross is a great way prevent people from actually liking your country.
posted by delmoi at 3:20 PM on January 19, 2009


Who would have guessed that belonging to a radical revolutionary group that planned and committed bombings would lead to trouble down the road with law enforcement? Oh, the injustice!
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:31 PM on January 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


In the darkest tinfoil-hatted reaches of my soul, I can't help but think for a fleeting moment that this was orchestrated by the Conservative-led Canadian government to embarrass President-elect Obama.
i think there's a more sinister reality. harper is essentially an oil baron and canada is essentially a petro-state. he knows that the simple existence of the US presents many inevitabilities that one can profit by, starting with the insatiable need for oil.

more, he knows that obama doesn't represent a radical threat to the status quo. americans will still drive and drop bombs and eat fatburgers just as they always have. the genius of harper's management style is that he doesn't (usually) do the kind of cage rattling that american politicians do.

he can just smile, shake hands and wait.
posted by klanawa at 3:40 PM on January 19, 2009


Because older professors with recent high exposure in the press who have gotten soft on a middle class lifestyle invited to speak on education matters routinely and without motivation turn into terrorists and go underground.
On the other hand, he’s from the U of I, so maybe it’s about hassling the geese.

“these sorts of diatribes only bring hysteria to a history that it's better for us to understand than to just decry.”
-posted by artof.mulata

Yeah, I have to agree. I can’t condone terrorism, by the same token I can see someone coming to the conclusion that using violence (in a limited way) is necessary.
I wouldn’t armchair quarterback here. He risked quite a bit for his involvement and I have to respect that as service to the country (even as I take (some minor) issues with method).
Whatever the case, he’s not that guy anymore and really, he can’t be. Unless he wants to shitcan all the work he’s been doing in education. Which seems like a real waste.
You’ve got to be hooked in to be part of this. Fanatics, terrorists, revolutionaries, guerrillas, pretty easy to spot.
It’s not like these guys don’t stand out. Like they magically switch from being Joe Pudge. Any real cop would notice Bruce Wayne moves smoothly, has an awful lot of toned muscle mass, toughened knuckles and a fighter’s physique. And oh yeah, and has a psychotically fierce reaction to crime. And he's never home nights. And never smells drunk. And many women who claim to have slept with him or just slept with him don't have that heat or smell coming off him. uh huh. I'm certainly fooled.

I mean - say Bill - howabout that war in Iraq? ‘Yeah, I oppose it.’
vs.
“MOTHERFU...! Uh...I’m against it.” And he goes on and on and on about the why’s and wherefores and what ‘should’ be done - or he remains silent and glowers at you - maybe.
Ask the guy about education though and he goes on for an hour about minor details in the field, odds are he is what he appears to be. Just a college professor.
And really, that's exactly why they're screwing with him, isn't it?
If he was dangerous, they could take him into custody. If he was a terrorist and adept at hiding it, he'd have found another way in, adopted a persona, etc.
No, this is just more political bullshit in borderland biting someone who can't bite back, wasting time that could be used to actually, y'know, protect people from something.

It’s not like there aren’t real terrorists out there. Why any ‘conservatives’ would be ok with wasting time and money on this political crap is beyond me. And it’s hardbook knowlege that suppression of dissent and alternate ideological views fosters alternate means of expression such as violence.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:50 PM on January 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm totally clued out why this is even worthy of a post. The last link states that Canada Customs has on record he is a convicted felon. AFAIK it has been Canada Customs policy...possible forever to not let in felons.

Now one could argue that Canada Customs is mistaken and he really isn't a convicted felon. Then Bill should spend his time trying to correct Canada Customs records if he wants to be admitted. This sounds exactly the same as people mistakenly on the US Do Not Fly List and can't get removed from it, no matter what they do. Hopefully in Canada you can get records corrected.
posted by sety at 3:59 PM on January 19, 2009


Their reason for turning her away was because some of her journal entries were "a little dark."

"Passport, please. Journal, please."

No, seriously, how did this play out in real life?
posted by IndigoJones at 4:02 PM on January 19, 2009


he also was less than friendly when I asked earlier if he'd let me take a picture of him with his dog.

Krautland, I'm pretty sure they denied you entry because you asked to take a picture of him and his dog.

I'd bet they all have nightmares about revenge attacks on them and their families from people they've busted, and about being surveilled for potential blackmail. The last thing any of them would want is a picture that might allow them to be identified and traced in their civilian life.
posted by jamjam at 4:02 PM on January 19, 2009


My understanding is that Canada has been turning people back due to any felony that they know about, notably drunk driving. One page with info, a quick search will turn up many more.

The sort-of recent development seems to be that criminal databases are better connected and queries are faster now, so the chance that the Canadian border guard will know about your criminal history is greater now than it used to be. You hear lots of stories in Minnesota like "I go fishing in Canada every year, why did they only stop me now?".

Not limited to DUI/DWI, of course: could conceivably be old convictions for felony theft or assault, drug charges, you name it.

You sold us on the T is for Terror speech. We swallowed that pill.

And: the U.S. has been treating visitors like dirt on entry, it's not surprising that other countries would respond in kind, like Brazil did a few years ago.

North America is not the Schengen zone, not nearly.
posted by gimonca at 4:23 PM on January 19, 2009


For the record, Canadian customs have always been very nice to me.

Especially if they're reading this while I'm on the other side of the window.
posted by gimonca at 4:32 PM on January 19, 2009


My understanding is that Canada has been turning people back due to any felony that they know about

Ayers is not a felon.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:35 PM on January 19, 2009


Sleep. That's where Ayers is a felon.
posted by found missing at 4:45 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


blazecock pileon, we all know that ayers isn't a felon, but some reason the canadians don't. that mrzine article, link 3 in the fpp, talks about his, ayers', befuddlement at the gaurd insisting that he has a felony assault charge on him from the 60s. it's just weird.

i was told once by the border gaurds on the washington to vancouver route that i have an interpol record. i did a lot of follow up when i was sadly back in the states (missed a conference!) and nobody could find any such record. a few weeks later i was back at the border ready to argue my case and get on into canada when they didn't say a thing about interpol and let me on through. confusion? you betcha.

that's one of the personal reasons i'm so adamant that these security gangs get their stories straight.
posted by artof.mulata at 4:46 PM on January 19, 2009


> To be fair, it was pretty damned cool to bomb things in the sixties.
> posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:58 PM on January 19 [+] [!]

It sure was, going by the entourage and groupies anyway. For every gen-U-wine bomb-throwing radical there were--what, a thousand? ten thousand?--individuals who never threw bomb 1, but who shouted the same slogans and pumped the same fist-pumps and carried around the same Frantz Fanon and had the same hair.

Did Ayers ever actually bomb anything? He coyly won't say, but my guess is that he did not; and that he is now much more worried that it will emerge convincingly that he did not than that he did.
posted by jfuller at 4:51 PM on January 19, 2009


I'm totally clued out why this is even worthy of a post. The last link states that Canada Customs has on record he is a convicted felon. AFAIK it has been Canada Customs policy...possible forever to not let in felons.

I have to agree. Regardless of whether Mr. Ayers is a felon or not, the point is, this BSO's records show that he is. If the records are wrong, then the need to be corrected, absolutely, but at the end of the day Canada is not obligated to let anyone in.

I find the suggestion that the BSO in question used wikipedia to make his decision to be insulting, and even more so Mr. Ayers accusation of bribery/giving a "gift" when offered a temporary resident permit. A TRP has a cost. That's standard.

Just because someone else let you in before, doesn't mean you're getting in now.

Who would have guessed that belonging to a radical revolutionary group that planned and committed bombings would lead to trouble down the road with law enforcement? Oh, the injustice!

Seriously. If I could favourite that more than once I would.
posted by aclevername at 4:54 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


On July 2, 2005...

I hadn't seen it mentioned, so this hubub all happened prior to the notoriety of the last 10 months or so...
posted by SirOmega at 4:58 PM on January 19, 2009


I second durn bronzefist. The CBSA has gotten really bad. The current minister is further to the right than Day ever was. If you think this petty, how about the way CBSA has stepped up the deportation of US war resisters ever since it looked like the Government might fall. This despite a Parliamentary free vote that said, "Let them stay" and a request by the Supreme Court to wait at least until after the February cases are heard. Five more resisters are slated to be deported between now and the 27th of January (when Parliament reconvenes). This is the result of elevating to power small-minded, isolated people who have no genuine sense of governance -- I guess Americans can school the world on that and the CBSA is a sign of how successful it's been.
posted by CCBC at 5:25 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I, having come across the Canadian/US border and back about once every three weeks for the last 2 years (as a Brit) am not at all surprised that someone with links to a terrorist organisation (even a pansy-arsed one) was refused entry to either country. I'm really not at all sure why this is 'news'. Border guards are looking for issues when they stop you - yes the US ones are several shades worse (although they seem to have lightened up recently), but the Canadians have been pretty damn thorough with me and anyone (non Canadian citizen) that I have been travelling with.

I find it interesting that he had a lawyer with him, but wasn't allowed to speak to him.

I also find this odd. This is the border control staff from Immigration. What on earth does a lawyer have to do with anything? He's not being charged with anything, he's just being refused entry. I see no reason why a lawyer has any justification in being involved. The lawyer was in Canada, the guy was not. He can't see him, as he's not in the country.
posted by Brockles at 5:59 PM on January 19, 2009


How do you get the third nail in, Krrrlson?

By filling a Zippo with butane and setting my hypocritical, ignorant ass on fire, I'd imagine.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:05 PM on January 19, 2009


Border guards are looking for issues when they stop you - yes the US ones are several shades worse (although they seem to have lightened up recently), but the Canadians have been pretty damn thorough with me and anyone (non Canadian citizen) that I have been travelling with.

Our experience is exactly the reverse -- the Canadian ones tend to be substantially pushier, nosier, and dumber. And, if anything, tend to be ruder to Canadian biscotti traveling alone than they are when she's with American me.

It's only in the past year or so that the American ones have been checking ID pretty consistently (though that may be a Niagara Falls vs Port Huron thing).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:12 PM on January 19, 2009


Oh no! He couldn't get into Canada! Now he'll miss the . . . the . . . well, whatever it is you can do in Canada!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:18 PM on January 19, 2009


I heard you can get Dark Chocolate hobnobs there, and possibly Twiglets.
posted by Artw at 6:25 PM on January 19, 2009


I find the suggestion that the BSO in question used wikipedia to make his decision to be insulting

I don't know whether it's a BSO, or the CBSA, or the Minister of Public Safety, but somebody here deserves at least a little gentle insult and ridicule. If they manage to correct whatever mistake in their records or procedures led to this decision, or to demonstrate that there was something other than plain stupidity behind it, I'll gladly apologize for any offence that may have been taken.
posted by sfenders at 6:38 PM on January 19, 2009


to demonstrate that there was something other than plain stupidity behind it

How is it stupid for the officer to do his job based on the information his has at hand? Information, I might add, that he has because it is shared with us from the United States. If Ayers wants to remedy this situation (from 3 years ago, I recognize), it's up to him to work with authorities on his own side of the border first to correct the information.

He offered Ayers an alternative, the Temporary Resident Permit, which is something that other "celebrities" have used to gain access when they've had criminal convictions. Ayers didn't want to pay the fee (oh, sorry, "bribe"), so too bad for him.
posted by aclevername at 6:48 PM on January 19, 2009


By filling a Zippo with butane and setting my hypocritical, ignorant ass on fire, I'd imagine.

1. I don't know that many Zippo tricks requiring it to be near your bum, dear. No, thank you, you don't need to teach me.

2. A three-year old AskMe reference? That's some top-notch grudgin'. Golf clap!

3. Exactly what did I say that makes me a "hypocrite?" Given the recent whining in MetaTalk you seem to be the one with a matryr complex and delusions of bias against you so if you'd like to actually explain why it's all of our faults for not making an FPP about a little-known figure that you yourself could have done I'd honestly love to hear it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:49 PM on January 19, 2009


Wait, what? I read the "denied entry into Canada" linked story, and the "additional coverage here" link was down. He was offered a TRP?

Yep, according to Ayers himself, in the "not without precedent" link.

"I could call my supervisor at home, and if he agrees I could grant you temporary residence. . . ."
posted by aclevername at 7:09 PM on January 19, 2009


"My understanding is that Canada has been turning people back due to any felony that they know about, notably drunk driving."

DUI is usually not a felony. California for example: (count me surprised)
"DUI / DWI offenses are charged as either misdemeanors or felonies. Most first, second, and third drunk-driving arrests are charged as misdemeanors. A driver who is involved in an accident, kills or injures another person, or who is arrested on a fourth DUI within 10 years almost always is charged with a felony."
posted by vapidave at 7:11 PM on January 19, 2009


Sorry, my bad, it seems there's several different "denied entry" events going on here.

1) From 2009
2) Another from 2005. It's the 2005 one where he was offered a TRP. I don't know about the 2009 incident.

I thought they were about the same incident. So obviously my remarks about the TPR only apply to the 2005 incident.
posted by aclevername at 7:15 PM on January 19, 2009


I see no reason why a lawyer has any justification in being involved.

Border agents can arrest you for legal infractions. If the lawyer's competent to practice in Canada, he should be able to assist his client.

The lawyer was in Canada, the guy was not. He can't see him, as he's not in the country.

Given the fact that Ayers entered Canada, he was in Canada. Stop being silly.
posted by oaf at 7:22 PM on January 19, 2009


He offered Ayers an alternative, the Temporary Resident Permit

Yeah, that is what happened in 2005; no such offer was made this time around. Heard him interviewed on the radio a while ago. Indeed it sounds like they did handle it better back then. No indication been given thus far of why he was refused this time. If you're correct in assuming it's the same database entry that caused the problem more than three years ago, and I'll join you in believing it's erroneous, perhaps they're just too embarrassed to admit it's still there. I gather it did make some headlines back then as well. A felony conviction in the US is a a matter of public record, it shouldn't be all that hard to confirm its accuracy when it's contested, from either side of the border. But thus far that is not particularly relevant, as they've said nothing about their reasons to the media or to the would-be visitor to Canada.
posted by sfenders at 7:29 PM on January 19, 2009


Border agents can arrest you for legal infractions. If the lawyer's competent to practice in Canada, he should be able to assist his client.

He wasn't arrested. He was refused entry. Therefore, this is not something that a lawyer has much of a justification in being involved with - there is no legal issue.

Given the fact that Ayers entered Canada, he was in Canada. Stop being silly.

No. He was refused entry to Canada. He never actually got in, that was the point. The area before immigration is technically not Canada, just as the area after US customs in the Toronto airport is technically the US. They take this distinction really very seriously, you know.
posted by Brockles at 7:33 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The area before immigration is technically not Canada,

It is on Canadian soil. It is subject to Canadian law. Thankfully, our language gives us a word for such a place: "Canada."

just as the area after US customs in the Toronto airport is technically the US

No, it's technically Canada.
posted by oaf at 7:38 PM on January 19, 2009


just as the area after US customs in the Toronto airport is technically the US

No, it's technically Canada.


Best tell them to take down all those "Welcome to the US" signs, then. Clearly they are all wrong.
posted by Brockles at 7:41 PM on January 19, 2009


Best tell them to take down all those "Welcome to the US" signs, then.

Oh, so the CATSA employees past the checkpoint all need U.S. work permits, and the arrest powers of the RCMP (and the appropriate local/regional police) don't apply, because the FBI takes care of all of it? You pay for your overpriced airport food (I want my soda in ounces, not some commie milliliters!) in U.S. dollars instead of loonies?

No, you don't.
posted by oaf at 7:54 PM on January 19, 2009


Who would have guessed that belonging to a radical revolutionary group that planned and committed bombings would lead to trouble down the road with law enforcement?

And yet I'll bet you Oliver North doesn't have any trouble at border control. And your various right wing dictators, torturers and human rights violaters rarely seem to experience any problems either.

In fact, not only will you not have any trouble, you'll probably get an invitation to the White House so you can trade torture tips.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:11 PM on January 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who believe the canard that particular zones of international airports are somehow not part of the surrounding country.

DUI is usually not a felony.

Here's another fine point: Canadian inadmissibility is not determined by whether a crime was classified as a felony by the convicting jurisdiction, but whether the crime would have been an indictable offense in Canada, which I believe DUI is.
posted by grouse at 9:31 PM on January 19, 2009


I suspect that what we're seeing is the customs equivalent of the Arms Race.

Only instead of Arms, it's Assholes.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that is what happened in 2005; no such offer was made this time around.

You're right, I totally misread the two articles. Not that it's meant as a justification (because technically I don't think one is needed), but Ayers must have known entry could be a problem if it happened once before.

But it's likely a moot point, because even without the false felony on his record they still have the right to deny entry.
posted by aclevername at 9:46 PM on January 19, 2009


I don't get the furor. Sure, it's very possible the CBSA was playing arsehole politics, and that sucks (and Harper is a prick etc etc etc), but several comments here imply that Ayers' had his rights trampled by Canada Immigration. That's utter bullshit, because Ayers doesn't have a right to enter Canada, nor does anyone who isn't a Canadian citizen.

Whenever I cross into the U.S. it's yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir from me. I'm not a U.S. citizen, and I've always understood that a U.S. border guard could deny me entry because he didn't like the way I looked, smelled or dressed that day.
posted by illiad at 12:14 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Katha's op-ed contains this little jem.
posted by qinn at 12:15 AM on January 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Plus, you don't use butane in a zippo.
posted by qinn at 3:31 AM on January 20, 2009


They could find him inadmissible, potentially, under ss.34(1)(a), 34(1)(b), 34(1)(f), 36(1)(c), or 36(2)(c)

(a) or (b) as you've quoted them could work, given that I have no idea what an "act of subversion" means in the law, but not so much (f) I think, when the "organization" in question no longer exists. But it's not the fine points of the law that ought to be at issue here. Presumably this was equally true the dozens of times Ayers didn't get any trouble at the border. Something has changed, probably not that law, and probably not for the better.

illiad: I've always understood that a U.S. border guard could deny me entry because he didn't like the way I looked, smelled or dressed that day.

More generally, I assume it's a basic sovereign right of any country to deny entry to whomever they please, if they feel like it. The regulations and practices governing crossing of this border change all the time, and lately seem to have been getting more restrictive; this case is perhaps not the best example of it, notable perhaps because it's the Canadian side doing it this time, while in recent years it seems to me it's been mostly the U.S. making the news for this sort of thing.

Rights and laws are a matter of convention, and for most of the 30+ years I've lived here in Canada, it's been a small point of national pride that people on both sides have the freedom to cross the Canada/U.S. border without any hassle. Longest undefended border in the world, people were fond of calling it. People would cross the border just to fill up their car with gasoline when it's a few cents cheaper on the other side. So it shouldn't be surprising that people tend to get upset when this notion that we're generally free to cross the border seems endangered.

Though actual security questions do not seem particularly relevant to this exact case, it is of course still quite easy for anyone willing to take the risk of doing something illegal to get across the border undetected. It would take a relatively small amount of effort and risk compared to, say, executing some kind of terrorist attack. Given how much trouble the Americans have had securing their smaller and on average closer-to-civilization border with Mexico, presumably this will remain the case. This fact doesn't really seem any more problematic today than it ever has been, in any way aside from politics. Having border controls of any kind looks to me like a classic trade-off between security and freedom; at this point, for this border, the gains to be had for the former seem much smaller than the loss for the other. And of course even if some of the changes have somehow made anyone more secure from something, this case, assuming the intent of whatever law or procedure was invoked is to protect the "security of Canada", simply goes to prove that the system or the people involved are not particularly good at assessing who is or is not a security risk.

Even if the border guards and governments are well within their legal rights, as I presume they are, it's still a shame they're acting this way.
posted by sfenders at 6:16 AM on January 20, 2009


It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who believe the canard that particular zones of international airports are somehow not part of the surrounding country.

Clearly the word 'technically' confuses people, then. It isn't the same as 'exactly'. Not at any stage did I suggest that it isn't Canadian soil the wrong side of the customs line, nor that US soil exists at Toronto airport. Perhaps that is why oaf is so upset.

Legally, no matter on what soil you are standing, you are not 'in Canada' in the fullest sense of the word until you are allowed in by customs and immigration. This is the same for all countries I have been to. This is why this statement is wrong:

"Given the fact that Ayers entered Canada, he was in Canada."

Because legally, he hadn't entered Canada. He just happened to be standing on Canadian soil. This was why he was unable to speak to his lawyer on the other side of the glass who was, in the fullest legal sense, in Canada.

If a traveller has a US to US flight that connects through Toronto, and doesn't (while in Toronto) leave the segregated area the other side of US customs, it classes as a US domestic flight - technically and legally, they never entered Canada. Despite the fact they were standing on Canadian carpet, on Canadian concrete on Canadian soil. Only if they successfully pass through Canadian customs do they do that. Conversely, legally - or at least, legally as far as US border control is concerned - you have already entered the US once you pass through the border control point at Toronto. Also, just to confuse matters, you haven't actually left Canada yet, but you have technically 'entered' the US as far as the US authorities are concerned.

There are legal technicalities surrounding where a country starts and stops in respect to border control - the only people that can approve your entry into the country. That is why there are little special holding areas at airports and the like. They're grey areas - they may be owned by the host country, are certainly policed by the host country, but you are not (to the fullest sense of the law) 'quite there yet' in terms of being in that country. You just exist on their soil.
posted by Brockles at 6:34 AM on January 20, 2009


"I'm not a U.S. citizen, and I've always understood that a U.S. border guard could deny me entry because he didn't like the way I looked, smelled or dressed that day."

That, actually, is more of an ideal situation than this - apparently (assuming this is politically motivated which is, I'll admit, somewhat speculative) - is.

You want autonomy from your front line people. Joe Border guard thinks something looks out of place, maybe something is.
Which is what irritates me about 'racial profiling.' Certainly the violations of rights are important there, but looking at it with ice cold eyes, it's a static pattern which can be broken down, analyzed, and exploited by terrorists, et.al.
Any formal search orders are subject to leaks, pattern analysis, potential rights violations and a slew of other things.
The only method which cannot be overcome is random search (you can add to it the guard's discretion which makes it even more effective).

The real problem then is political regulation of the execution. If Ayers doesn't get in, and that is (presumably) politically motivated, couldn't then someone with a lot of money, juice, whatever, use that to circumvent the border by using that same avenue of political influence? Couldn't he interfere with execution of policy as well?

There should be no political influence when it comes to security matters. Certainly policy should be set, but laws are meaningless without the ability to enforce them equally. No particular individual should be singled out ('Not Sure' aside) by policy makers (in the U.S. this is why folks who understand the Constitution got upset by the Schiavo thing, f'rinstnce) otherwise the law is not equal.

This is not to say the border guards don't, or shouldn't, have the right to admit or deny anyone they see fit. But that fitness should be predicated on apolitical practical security matters, not the whims of any given political party that happens to be in power at the time.

Furthermore, I take strong exception to the idea that a political representative knows better what executioners of policy should be doing with their time. By definition, this means eliminating certain other things they could be doing with that time.

Therefore the trade off (in execution) is political pressure on the populace in exchange for real security. Bottom line.

And make fun of guards, cops, etc. all you like. I assure you they'd rather be doing their jobs (most of them) without some desk jockey political lapdog breathing down their necks telling them they have to hassle some particular guy or other. Typically they have family in the country too. Last thing you'd want is a sneaky bastard trailing Ayers, knowing the attention is going to be on him, sliding into the country to blowed stuff up.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:09 AM on January 20, 2009


You really have no idea what you're talking about here, Brockles.

In respect to whether or not (and/or why) he was allowed to talk to his lawyer? Or his legal position in respect to being in Canada or not?

I mentioned here that because he hadn't been charged with anything, that he had no justification to ask for the laywer, but having read it back, it's not clear that I was considering the concept of "go and talk to" rather than "being denied representation". I wasn't suggesting the he is in any way 'not entitled' to a lawyer, but more that there was no reason for him to justify demanding one because he hadn't been arrested.

So my continuing that he he hadn't the freedom to just wander off and chat with his lawyer is perhaps fogged a little bit with the whole "whether he was in Canada at that point or not" discussion. I read "was not allowed to talk to his lawyer" perhaps too literally.
posted by Brockles at 7:14 AM on January 20, 2009


He just happened to be standing on Canadian soil.

After he entered Canada. He was not permitted to stay, but he technically (since you love that word) had entered Canada.

If a traveller has a US to US flight that connects through Toronto

Unless specially arranged, this situation doesn't exist.

legally - or at least, legally as far as US border control is concerned - you have already entered the US once you pass through the border control point at Toronto.

Again, technically, no. You're cleared to enter the United States, but you haven't actually done so. The border authorities have vetted you, so your plane gets to land at a domestic concourse, but the U.S. has no authority over you as long as you are over Canadian airspace.

Also, just to confuse matters, you haven't actually left Canada yet, but you have technically 'entered' the US as far as the US authorities are concerned

Other than the fact that you can't be arrested by U.S. authorities while there, and that that part of the airport is still wholly under the jurisdiction of the governments of Canada, Ontario, Peel, etc.

because he hadn't been charged with anything, that he had no justification to ask for the laywer

Everyone detained has the right to legal counsel. This is not disputed. Ayers had been detained. Are you disputing that?
posted by oaf at 7:58 AM on January 20, 2009


Everyone detained has the right to legal counsel.

I've just read the article again, and there is no mention of him being detained. He was just turned back at the border. It doesn't even suggest he was detained in the older article, just (at most) pulled into the 'extra quizzing' area. That isn't the same as being detained, as far as I am aware, it's just getting you out of the main queue of people to talk to you more at length without holding up the line.

Surely that isn't the equivalent if being 'taken to the station for questioning' or the like? I have to go into that area even when my bag doesn't make it through the system on time...
posted by Brockles at 8:34 AM on January 20, 2009


He was free to go, then? That's what it means not to be detained.
posted by oaf at 9:22 AM on January 20, 2009


Ayers is not a felon.

Are we sure? A very common reason for people to be turned back these days are old (sometimes 30-years or more old) drug convictions, for example.

The point being, Canada might have turned him back due to things in his past that have been well-publicized, or for other totally unrelated reasons. Could have been either.

There are a kajillion sites with info about getting into or not getting into Canada, from law firms, travel agencies, or even the Canadian government themselves. Start here.
posted by gimonca at 10:28 AM on January 20, 2009


Are we sure?

Yes, we are sure. Ayers is not a felon.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:36 AM on January 20, 2009


“I agree with you in part, Smedleyman, but not all political input is interference. It would be madness if everytime a new party came to power, they amended all the Acts and Regs to reflect the new policy. So while you acknowledge the necessity of setting policy, where do you imagine that happens?”

Well, again, my argument makes several assumptions that I concede are based on speculation. But taking those as givens (that is, this was politically motivated) you’re making my point for me. It would indeed be madness if every incoming party changed everything. We therefore recognize that certain practices are efficient or successful and shouldn’t change them just ‘cause something blowd up.
Futhermore - for clarification, my focus was on specific instances of alteration of security policy, not general policy decision. So it’s ok if we say “all dying people must have access to ‘x’, ‘y’, and ‘z’” (given it’s been properly put through the system), but it’s not ok to say “Terry Schiavo must have ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’”
In the same way - you can set general policy for border crossings, but to bar or admit someone for reasons other than practical security concerns - even those that can be related to policy - at the word of a policy makes invalidates the entire system.

We don’t allow mayors, say, to order their police forces to arrest someone simply because they don’t like that person. By the same token we don’t allow mayors to insist someone not be arrested simply because that person is their friend or something.
It may happen in practice, but it shouldn’t.
And it opens a major security hole.
If I’m Joe Terrorist and I see that, I can say “Hmm - senator/mayor/governor ‘x’ has influence over this, eh?” So I can bribe/threaten, whatever, that person to let me in.

“I don't think the officer had the option of not finding him inadmissible. That is all entirely outside of political invovlement.”

If that is the case, and I don’t know that it is or isn’t then, sure, my argument is moot concerning this matter.
Apparently though he’d been in Canada before and apparently he was invited by an academic institution. Which makes one wonder why he’d been denied.
If it’s a matter of just now updating their database or something, sure.
But as I said, that would be a matter of broad policy, not specific targeting, and so, safer.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:36 AM on January 20, 2009


We'd have to know what the immigration officers who processed him knew on those occasions, and we don't.

We've no idea what they knew on this occasion either, that's exactly the source of much of the perceived injustice of it. Maybe they had some good reason, maybe not. 2005 was not the "last time", if it were things would make slightly more sense. According to CBC, his many previous successful cross-border trips included one just last year.

Checking on google news does seem to indicate Ayers is nothing special, it's not so uncommon for people to get turned away at the border for no apparent good reason without any "terrorist!" associations. I didn't really know how common it was, and I still don't. Another example that stands out is US peace activist barred again from entering Canada (despite having an invitation from several members of Parliament.) So I guess at least in Canada we're safe from individual opposition MPs having any influence; if there was some political intervention, (and it does seem a good possibility), I'm guessing it was probably on the other side of the border. For Wright, they reportedly gave her a reason for the rejection, citing an FBI "crime database" record of some peaceful anti-war protest stuff. But there are many more "no reason given" cases that were controversial enough to make the news.

Ah well, I'll just go back to ignoring these things, now. I'll continue holding some vague hope that when I scan the news again in ten years, there will be at least a few stories in there about how they inappropriately denied someone entry to the country, recognized the mistake, and apologized. Mistakes will always happen. Anyway, though it's obviously not ideal to focus on news stories about individual cases like this when only a more complete review of the system could do any real good, I'm glad that this story got some attention. It'd be more worrying if nobody noticed.

Last thing you'd want is a sneaky bastard trailing Ayers, knowing the attention is going to be on him, sliding into the country to blowed stuff up.

Smedleyman, I like the way you think and write, but this is the Canada/US border we're talking about here. Even more than with most international borders, if someone is *that* sneaky, they'll likely have no trouble getting across. Last summer I came pretty close to crossing the border accidentally without noticing it, out in a sailboat on the Great Lakes (tacked back to the North soon as I realized we were getting close, though it's not like anyone would've noticed or cared if we'd gone over the boundary). It's a long line on the map, with vast sections, not just on the water either, that aren't closely watched by anyone.
posted by sfenders at 11:42 AM on January 20, 2009


He was free to go, then? That's what it means not to be detained.

Well, yeah. He was absolutely free to go. Just only back where he came from. He wasn't 'held' as such.

When I've been in these places they only keep an eye on you to make sure you aren't going to try and sneak through into the country of origin - they're pretty laid back other than that. You can move around freely within the correct area, and there is nothing (I don't think) stopping you trying to get back on the plane (beyond the airline regs/lack of ticket/issue with flow of the airport.

I don't know if anyone has tried it, but getting to the customs desk and saying "You know what? I've changed my mind. I don't want to come in" would be an interesting experiment.
posted by Brockles at 11:43 AM on January 20, 2009


Yes, we are sure. Ayers is not a felon.

Well, I defer to your privileged, secure database access then.
posted by gimonca at 12:14 PM on January 20, 2009


durn bronzefist: Not to detain you too long on this matter but you were right to say that my beef (over war resisters) is not so much with CBSA but with Immigration. It was the current minister, his predecessor, and their leader who I was painting as "small-minded".
I was a little sensitive on this since, when I wrote, I was preparing to go to a farewell do for a resister who was just ordered deported.
In regards to making policy, there have been policy shifts under Harper and the handling of the war resister matter reflects this. But that is far away from the topic in hand so I will shut up now.
posted by CCBC at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2009


Well, I defer to your privileged, secure database access then.

Do you mean this database?

He was never tried or convicted of anything, and therefore can't be a felon.
posted by rtha at 3:18 PM on January 20, 2009


Krautland, I'm pretty sure they denied you entry because you asked to take a picture of him and his dog.

what? I asked -politely even- if he'd pose, he grumped NO! get back in your car! and I did without taking the picture. the folks denying me where inside the post, a good 200 yards away. they didn't see or hear this. grumpy doghandler only showed up when it came to having his fluffy leave muddy paw prints all over our seats.
posted by krautland at 3:53 PM on January 20, 2009


Do you mean this database?

Wikipedia? Seriously?

You're probably right, but that's not exactly authoritative. Plus, it really only talks about the terrorism-related charges being dropped, not whether he was ever convicted of, say, an unrelated drug offense. And as noted above, Canada apparently will deny you for something that is a felony in Canada, even if it is a misdemeanor in the jurisdiction you were convicted of. Someone above asserted he had misdemeanor convictions --- do we know if any of those are felonies in Canada?
posted by wildcrdj at 4:01 PM on January 20, 2009


He was never tried or convicted of anything, and therefore can't be a felon.

Anything? Ever?
posted by gimonca at 5:57 PM on January 20, 2009


You can move around freely within the correct area

You are aware that "the correct area," at least at Pearson, describes a very small space consisting almost exclusively of corridors, escalators, and a baggage claim area, right? And that the flow of traffic is one way only? (If you can go back to the plane, you might be able to go from the plane to the passenger waiting area, and then out into Canada, cackling evilly as you embark on your plan to give lectures at universities.)
posted by oaf at 9:24 PM on January 20, 2009


this is all muddled by our right-leaning PM now having to work with a centre or left-leaning President, but I doubt that Obama will want to see U.S. war resistors taking refuge in Canada. It's going to be a strange time.

It's going to be a short time if Harper's budget doesn't scale back the proposed tax cuts or does anything that makes the Liberals vote it down. Layton's already said he's gunning for the budget for sure, and if the would-be coalition goes against it, the Bloc will, just so they make Parliament even less functional than it already is.
posted by oaf at 9:33 PM on January 20, 2009


"You may not realize this, but it’s non-political staff from the Deputy Minister on down."

Ok, moot point then.

"Even more than with most international borders, if someone is *that* sneaky, they'll likely have no trouble getting across."

And therein lies the problem - even moreso - with security theater.

What rankles isn't so much bullying one guy (or not, whatever the case may be) but that there are, in fact, folks out there who would be interested in destroying something and hurting some people. I'd like to see those resources properly targeted. As it is, all the actual focus on fighting terrorists (granted, in the U.S.) has been on *looking* like counterterrorism is going on rather than actually addressing physical security and intelligence issues.

I can't address specifics in the Ayers thing here. I can say it's not - very generally speaking - a good idea to restrict visiting folks access (in terms of exchange of ideas, hell we let the pres. of Iran speak, got a good laugh out of it at least).
But if it's Ayers foul up, it's his foul up.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:53 PM on January 20, 2009


Well, I defer to your privileged, secure database access then.

For fuckssake.

Be a smartass and remain ignorant, if you want to. But Ayers still isn't a felon. Explain it away however you want to.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:16 AM on January 21, 2009


Thank you for that extensive documentation.
posted by gimonca at 5:29 AM on January 21, 2009


Oy.

Wikipedia's not definitive, no. I figured that given the fine-toothed-combing Ayers' life got a few months ago, it was unlikely that the Wikipedia article would be either so inaccurate or so incomplete as to omit a mention of arrest or conviction.

He apparently was arrested in Chicago in 1968 (who wasn't?), but because of the signal-to-noise ratio, Google tells me nothing about a conviction in that instance. In general, cases of mass arrest like that often result in either mass dismissal of any charges (protesters are basically held until things calm down, then they're released), or there may be a fine. I'd be interested to know if something like "disturbing the peace" is a felony in Canada. Of course, in '68, the charge may have been...inciting a riot? IANAL on any continent or country.

I did miss the bit upstream about an offense needing to be a felony on the Canadian side of the border, regardless of what it might have been on the U.S. side, and I apologize for that.

Maybe you can find something out there on the interwebs that indicates he was tried and convicted of what would be a felony in Canada.
posted by rtha at 6:10 AM on January 21, 2009


Sorry, Durn - I missed that above, as well. Maybe I should also quit doing these kinds of threads, if I can't babysit them as they develop, since my go-back-and-read-what-I-missed skillz are clearly not mad.
posted by rtha at 12:57 PM on January 21, 2009


Toronto Star: security officials on the ground at the Island airport told Kugler that the matter was kicked up to Ottawa for a decision.
posted by sfenders at 1:07 PM on January 21, 2009


Thank you for that extensive documentation.

Ayers is not a felon. Neither in the United States of America, nor in the federation of Canadian provinces. I don't need to provide you with "extensive documentation", because it's all on public record, which you have as much access to as myself. Do your own homework or shut up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:54 PM on January 21, 2009


durn bronzefist: I don't think the refugee route was the correct way to go either, but the decision was made by legal minds working for the War Resisters Campaign in Toronto. Options were limited. Applying for landed status from within the country worked for two resisters but they were married to Canadians. Immigration claimed that one reason to deny Chris Teske's appeal was that Obama was coming in -- I swear this is true! Apparently that meant there was no longer any reason to need refuge. (Of course, the corollary is that for eight years there was and previous cases were justified, but logic is not one of Immigration's fine points.)
I think the Government's attitude toward war resisters and toward Khadr spring from their own ideology and not necessarilly American pressure. I am always amazed to speak to Calgarians and find out how narrowly right-wing their views are -- this seems to me to have gotten much worse since Klein. (Lougheed was a very different kettle of fish.) Harper, to me, is a home-grown ideologue of the type that has dominated the US Republican party since Gingrich.
posted by CCBC at 2:03 PM on January 21, 2009


because it's all on public record, which you have as much access to as myself

Heh. That could be taken in many sarcastic ways.
posted by gimonca at 3:46 PM on January 21, 2009


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