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American ignorance

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CANADA'S border with the United States should be a "gateway" to opportunity and trade rather than the "cumbersome checkpoint that stifles creativity" that it is in danger of becoming. That, at least, was the message that Canadian Ambassador to the United States Michael Wilson gave on Wednesday.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/04/2009 (5030 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

CANADA’S border with the United States should be a “gateway” to opportunity and trade rather than the “cumbersome checkpoint that stifles creativity” that it is in danger of becoming. That, at least, was the message that Canadian Ambassador to the United States Michael Wilson gave on Wednesday.

Mr. Wilson was responding to some unfortunate comments made by American Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano earlier in the week that both angered and worried many Canadians. The former Arizona governor demonstrated a profound ignorance of Canada-U.S, border issues in an interview by indicating she believed that some 9/11 terrorists had entered the U.S. through Canada.

That is a hoary old myth that should have been put to rest long ago, and Ms. Napolitano has since said she knows that it is not true, that she either misspoke herself or was misunderstood. Mr. Wilson said that he and most Canadians accept that explanation, but that does not remove the cause for concern that, under Ms. Napolitano’s direction, crossing the border will become increasingly difficult.

The homeland security boss, whose home state shares a troubled border with Mexico, seems unable to distinguish that the two borders are different — much of the action across the Mexican line is illegal immigrants and illegal drugs, while the Canadian border sees a busy traffic in trade and tourists.

Ms. Napolitano appears to personify the greatest threat that Canadians face from the United States. It is not American imperialism or U.S. economic colonialism. It is a fundamental and widespread ignorance in the U.S., going right up to the top levels of government, of Canada and things Canadian. Mr. Wilson has his work cut out for him if the border is to continue to be the gateway that he envisions.

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