Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sorry, America, but Bieber is your baby

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Justin Bieber appears in court via video feed, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, in Miami. Bieber was released from jail Thursday following his arrest on charges of driving under the influence, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest. Police say they stopped the 19-year-old pop star while he was drag-racing down a Miami Beach street before dawn. (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Walter Michot, Pool)

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Justin Bieber appears in court via video feed, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, in Miami. Bieber was released from jail Thursday following his arrest on charges of driving under the influence, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest. Police say they stopped the 19-year-old pop star while he was drag-racing down a Miami Beach street before dawn. (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Walter Michot, Pool)

NOW that 100,000 people have signed a petition on the White House website demanding Justin Bieber's deportation, forcing a review and official response, I'd like to point out a few things about my fellow Canadian.

First, America, you made him this way. Bieber was just a regular kid from Ontario until he was discovered and signed by a U.S. label. And now look at him: throwing eggs at the neighbours, abusing antidepressants and walking around with his shirt off. If this new Justin Bieber walked into any Canadian hockey arena tomorrow, he would be ripped apart and eaten. You've taken a perfectly good Canadian and turned him soft.

Second, did I get the hierarchy wrong for major offences in the United States? You can't go a few days in this country without reading about a shooting, and suddenly some kid driving his Ferrari at 55 miles per hour in a 30-mph zone is an unacceptable threat to public safety? It's not like Bieber shot somebody for throwing popcorn at him.

Third, Americans, could you stop making summary deportation the default remedy for people you decide you don't like? In what universe does it make sense for somebody to be deported just because 100,000 people sign a petition? The same universe where a Democratic administration deports a record 400,000 people a year to look tough on enforcement, in the hopes of persuading Republicans to agree to immigration reform, that's where. Please stop treating us as props for whatever populist whimsy catches your flitting glance.

Better just to let immigrants get back to the job of founding your startups, repopulating your broken cities, dominating your legislature and even dictating what you find funny. And if that isn't enough to earn Bieber some leeway, look at it this way: You can't send him back to Canada now. He'd never survive.

-- Washington Post-Bloomberg

Christopher Flavelle is a member of Bloomberg View's editorial board. Follow him on Twitter at @cflav.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 2, 2014 A14

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