By Alan Bean
Canadian activists are outraged by an immigration raid in Vancouver that they claim was staged for a reality show. The folks with the cameras claim they are producing a documentary and only use footage after getting verbal permission. A woman working across the street from the action claims to be deeply upset: “It doesn’t seem very Canadian,” she told the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) “It’s very sensationalized. I don’t like it. It’s just very creepy.”
This video is taken from the Vancouver Sun’s story on the raid.
Canadians define themselves in opposition to the United States. As Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once explained to an American reporter, “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant . . . one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” When Canadians say something “isn’t very Canadian” we usually mean it is very American.
Canadians have just recently gained a passion for deporting undocumented aliens. True, the number of people deported from Canada increased by 50% between 1999 and 2009, but we’re talking about an increase from 8,361 deportations per year to 12,732.
Contrast that with the 400,000 folks the Obama administration deported last year.
Of course Canada is one-tenth the size of the US and doesn’t share a border with a less wealthy nation, so comparisons are precarious. Still, I find the reaction of the populace gratifying. People were generally outraged by the idea of staging an immigration sweep for the cameras, something that would hardly raise an eyebrow in the USA. And the immigration people were quick to insist that they were really looking for a genuine baddie and just stumbled over the other people by accident.
Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, appears to be fascinated by all things American, including our war on drugs and our prison industrial complex. Is he now taking an interest in mass deportation? Will private detention centers soon be springing up along the border between British Columbia and Washington State? Perhaps some of our Canadian readers can shed some light on these questions. (more…)