Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Hands Across the Border...

One Canadian man and his family have learned the precise extent of America's commitment to the spirit of NAFTA and the depth of their gratitude for Canada's support of George W. Bush's risible "War on Terror".

Kevin Gibbons was recruited by a Utah company more than a decade ago and has done much valuable work in the state's communications industry. Gibbons says, "I have probably done more than most of the American citizens have to build their infrastructure". His entry to the States was granted through a TN Visa, a special work visa issued to non-immigrant NAFTA professionals.

After visiting family in Canada last year, Gibbons and his wife were denied re-entry to the United States. The problem? Gibbons' thirty-year-old conviction for marijuana possession. He turned his car around.

Later, upon attempting re-entry, he was again refused, this time because he was "unqualified" for the job at which he had performed superlatively for over a decade--this despite the best efforts of his American employer, who made it clear to border authorities that Gibbons was an absolute necessity to them.

Gibbons was given a short time to liquidate his assets in the United States (he claims to have lost about $100 000) and was then effectively deported. After having given the U.S. his technical expertise in a very specialised field of communications and after having raised a family in the States, he now appears permanently barred from entry into the country.

We might be tempted to ascribe this disgraceful infliction of arbitrary cruelty on America's post-9/11 need to purge itself of everything that might threaten their Väterland. We get a very different rationale, though, from Jan Pete, spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. She claims that "there is an increased demand on border guards to be very thorough with NAFTA applicants" because "we do have a commitment at the border to protect the American job market".

That's right: protecting the American job market has become part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection's job description.

Kevin Gibbons: a name to remember the next time Americans bark more of their swaggering cant about their commitment to "liberalised trade" and a sobering reminder of how easily, in the land that allegedly prizes the "individual", a man and his family can be chewed up and spit out by a callous, impersonal, xenophobic state apparatus.


Ryan said...

I laughed aloud at your tag "die heimat." Border guards wearing brown shirts is all I could picture.

But but but... if we get out of NAFTA... we'll let Americans freeze in the dark. I don't know how many times I've heard that argument on the radio/in the Calgary Sun here in Alberta. I'm glad for their concern for Americans, it's really touching, but they neglect to mention that it's much likelier that we will be the ones freezing in the dark with NAFTA in place.

PS-I noticed Leacock wasn't on your list. Any particular reason?

Sir Francis said...

I noticed Leacock wasn't on your list. Any particular reason?

Excellent point. I've no idea why I forgot him. I'll fix that right away.

Ryan said...

Now all you need is Dalton Camp and you'll have collected 'em all.

Sir Francis said...

Now all you need is Dalton Camp...

Ah yes, Dalton. I loved reading him from about the mid-90's onwards. I really felt the loss when he died. He was one of the few voices of reason left in Canadian journalism--along with Richard Gwyn, Gwynne Dyer and just a few others.

Though he had many sterling qualities, I'm afraid his engineering of the political assassination of Diefenbaker and his work for the Mulroney regime cause him to fall short of greatness, in my estimation. Thus, the Roll will have to do without him...

Aeneas the Younger said...

The only ones who really bought the FTA BS were Brian Mulroney, Michael Wilson, and Simon Riesman.

Clayton Yeutter was U.S. Trade Representative between 1985 and 1989, then Secretary of Agriculture from 1989 until 1991 and then chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1991 and 1992.

A US Trade representative during the negotiations of the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement, Yeutter had this to say about the trade deal: "The Canadians don't know what they've signed. In 20 years they'll be sucked into the U.S. economy."

Here's the document where this was entered into the Parliamentary Record


Sir Francis said...


The only ones who really bought the FTA BS were Brian Mulroney, Michael Wilson, and Simon Riesman.

Actually, I think they knew better. They just lied. Continentalism was the Trojan Horse for neo-conservatism in Canada, and, like its newer incarnation, continentalism is premised on lies.

Remember all the rhetoric about "competition"? The FTA was going to make Canada more "competitive". We were going to beat the Americans at their own game.

Anti-FTA voices were "defeatists" who simply had no faith in Canada's economic vitality. Nationalists like David Orchard claimed that the FTA was all about integration, not competition. They were ridiculed as alarmists. Now, of course, integration is the new orthodoxy, just as was predicted.

Mulroney et al. were not wrong; they were not duped. They knew what the agenda was all along. They just lied.

Red Tory said...

That is an amazing and completely ridiculous story. Of course, our government, being completely submissive hell, will just sit timorously by as they do with all these sorts of shameful outrages at the border.

By the way, the C.D. Howe Institute has a new study out recommending even more bilateral integration.

Sir Francis said...

...the C.D. Howe Institute has a new study out recommending even more bilateral integration.

Why, of course--that's what they do...