A few years ago, Stephen Harper told us that by the time he was done in office, we wouldn't recognize Canada. How true, and troubling, those words have become.
In Harper's relatively short seven years running the country, we have seen the Americanization of our parliamentary democracy. We have an enemies list, fact free attack ads, and constant negativity and division.
We've also seen the Americanization of our justice system where facts and evidence are replaced by "gut feelings", and an obsession with retribution.
Now we are now witnessing the Americanization of our law enforcement. Armed American police officers will now operate on Canadian soil.
Bit by bit, agreement by agreement, Canada is giving away more and more in the name of trade. To Conservatives, none of this is a threat to our sovereignty, as if the very act of stating so makes it so.
But let us consider this fantasy scenario: RCMP officers stopping American citizens on the Buffalo side of their border. Picture the horrified expression of those resilient New Yorkers as they are forced to slow down on their Interstate highway so as to be greeted by a smiling RCMP officer who is to inspect their property, ask questions about where they live, where they've come from, and the like -- all part of a so called "pre-clearing" program.
Of course, this scene would never occur. The United States protects, obsessively, their sovereignty. But here in Canada, armed American police officers will now be able to stop Canadians, in Canada, inspecting, checking and asking questions.
Again, the Conservatives will tell us that an armed American cop in Canada is all about trade, jobs and security, not sovereignty. If this is true, then can we not expect to see Mounties stopping Americans on the Buffalo side?
I don't believe Canadians want American police operating and carrying guns in Canada. It's just not right.
Harper did promise though that when he's done, we won't recognize Canada. Perhaps we can all reminiscence about that when stopped and questioned by an American police officer, in our own country.
Also on The Huffington Post Canada:
Answer: Yes, with some exceptions While Canadians heading across the border don't face any restrictions when it comes to locally-grown fruits, they must declare all plants, animals and food -- that includes any drinks and snacks. Fruits not native to Canada, like oranges, are not okay to bring over. Home-made meals, like a sandwich, are exempted according to Duty Free Canada's website. However, the <a href="http://www.dutyfreecanada.com/border-facts/" target="_hplink">site does suggest you declare home-made meals anyway as a way to avoid an "innocent mistake."</a>
Answer: Yes, with some exceptions Canadians packing potatoes will want to leave them at home. Currently, the <a href="http://www.aphis.usda.gov/travel/canadian_products.shtml" target="_hplink">United States Department of Agriculture has banned potatoes from Western Canada</a> due to "a disease outbreak." For the most part, vegetables grown in Canada are safe to bring to the U.S., however non-native produce, like pineapples, that are sold in Canada are prohibited due to fears of disease. For a database of Canadians fruits and vegetables that are safe to carry into the United States, <a href="http://www.aphis.usda.gov/favir/" target="_hplink">click here</a>.
Answer: No Between Canadian cases of mad cow disease, avian flu and swine flu, the United States has effectively banned any meats from entering the United States via luggage or carry-ons for personal consumption. This includes meat like sausage or prosciutto and meat byproducts such as foie gras or bullion, regardless of how they've been prepared. Eggs are also on the inadmissible list, though the the<a href="https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/944" target="_hplink"> Customs and Border Protection website</a> says the list of banned meats is fluid and changes frequently.
Answer: Yes. Canadians travelling with their pets can carry personal amounts of pet food that contains beef, veal, bovine or equine products so long as it is commercially packaged and labelled. Pet food containing <a href="https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/637" target="_hplink">lamb, sheep or goat meat is still prohibited</a>.
Answer: Yes, with limits According to the USDA, Canadians can bring a variety of plants while travelling to the U.S. However,<a href="https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/600/kw/plants" target="_hplink"> there are a number of conditions.</a> For one, Canadians can only bring12 plants without a permit if they're of a variety under no special restrictions. However, all plants must carry a phytosanitary certificate — proof from Canada that your plants are safe. Also, plants should be bare-rooted during inspection, meaning pots and soil are a no-go. Travellers carrying more than 12 plants have to drive to a Plant Inspection Station. There, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service agents will inspect the vegetation to see if it's safe to enter. If not, they must be left or destroyed at the border.
Answer: Yes. Well, sort of According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canadians have to follow the same regulations placed on U.S. citizens. This means a traveller coming from Canada can bring in 100 cigars or 200 cigarettes with a value of less than $800 U.S. dollars. Any more and travellers can expect that amount to be subjected to federal taxes. One exception to this rule is with bidis, a flavoured tobacco, which is prohibited from entering the United States.
Answer: Yes. But there's a catch Canadians may want to do some research before packing a few cold ones. Basically, Canadians are allowed to bring in one litre of alcohol without having to pay federal taxes. However, that doesn't mean they'll be exempt from state taxes, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Each state's Alcohol Beverage Control Board regulates the rules of taxation on booze. Any alcohol beyond the one-litre limit will be subject to federal and or state taxes. To see how to get in contact with each state's board for their rules, <a href="http://www.ttb.gov/wine/state-ABC.shtml" target="_hplink">click here</a>.
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