“That longest and friendliest border in the world is now an invisible Berlin Wall,” Mike Bradley told CBC News.
A new passport requirement set by the United States Homeland Security department has been watched very closely by officials and interested laymen for the past few years that will likely make life extremely more difficult for the Canadian economy, but particularly those industries reliant on consumers and tourists from the United States spending their hard earned dollars in the Northern economy at places like Casinos and tourist venues. Indeed, these venues were primarily established to recoup declining revenues generated by a dwindling manufacturing sector.
The new passport requirement is now decimating these industries when it come into effect in June, 2009. Since only 20 to 30 per cent of Americans have valid passports, it is likely that the people who do not have them will not be travelling to Canada or Mexico as previous until they obtain one. The industries currently reliant on Americans travelling to Canada and Mexico for business, tourism, and pleasure purposes will no longer be able to engage in these activities unless they have passports or risk law enforcement sanctions.
“That longest and friendliest border in the world is now an invisible Berlin Wall,” Mike Bradley told CBC News, responding to the new requirement that travellers carry a secure document to enter the U.S. by land. It is the latest in a series of security measures implemented since the terror attacks on New York and Washington D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001.
As the NY Times reports, the new passport rules brings worry to tourism areas such as Niagara Falls where they say the new rules could discourage millions of visitors from coming to one of the nation’s most majestic and romantic tourist attractions and result in billions of dollars a year in lost revenue (NY times, 2009). Other affected regions of the country going whose tourism industries will likely be decimated will be Windsor, Ontario, and Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
“I think there will be an impact,” John Winston, general manager of Tourism London, warned yesterday. “It is just another barrier for people to go through if they want to go back to the U.S.” Especially hard hit could be bus tours, which rely on people on moderate incomes and seniors for business, Winston said. The London region relies on the U.S. and other countries for about 12% of its tourism business, he added (Cnews, 2009).
All signs are pointing to a total economic, political, and social collapse in the United States, but also in Canada once the full effects of the economic crisis spreads to its norther neighbor as the US economy slows to a halt. Since Canada depends mainly on the United States for its economic well being, any kind of economic collapse of the United States would immediately obliterate the Canadian economy. Indeed, during the Great Depression, Canada was affected more negatively than the United States. Canada was hit hard by the Great Depression. Between 1929 and 1939, the gross national product dropped 40% (compared to 37% in the US).
Unemployment reached 27% at the depth of the Depression in 1933. Many businesses closed, as corporate profits of $396 million in 1929 turned into losses of $98 million in 1933. Families saw most or all of their assets disappear, and their debts become heavier as prices fell. Canadian exports shrank by 50% from 1929 to 1933. Worst hit were areas dependent on primary industries such as farming, mining and logging, as prices fell and there were few alternative jobs (Wikipedia, 2009).
Few Americans have a passport
“The concern is over people who May not have the financial resources and do not have passports, but would slip across the border and go to Marineland for the day with their families and return to the night,” he says.
An estimated 41 per cent of Canadians have a passport, but only about 20 percent of Americans have one.
The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, has always been a favorite for local Hangout and Canadians. Ivano Toscani, his host and chief executive, is the hope, Canadians are still in place after the border, the existing rules.
“The proximity of Canada, I know we have many Canadian friends come here all the time, especially when we have a football match in progress,” he said.
Americans return must also present one of the new documents proving their identity and citizenship. However, Ron Smith, head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Detroit, said his department plans to give a break to ignore passengers for an indefinite period.
Smith told the Observer newspaper in Sarnia, Ont., That persons who are not entitled to documents will be given a written notice explaining the new rules and sent on their way.
An official of the Agency for protection of borders of the United States told CBC News has its own border guards will be lenient with people who forget their passport as a first step, but not for long. ”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern is listed on the site of the agency, saying that officials “will be practical and flexible in implementing [the new rules] using the same approach to compliance has informed that its worth in other changes our borders are the last two years. ”
Remiscent of proposed border amnesty changes that the Bush administration was trying to railroad down the throat of Congress, the Governor of California stated his opinion voicing opposition to increased immigration and lax border controls. Seeing Mexico is such a drastically different county in terms of social, health, environmental, and economic standards, it is unwise to further open the already porous border that the Amnesty Program would have done. The problem with the current situation is that NAFTA essentially makes the borders extremely porous in both economic and immigration facets.
In the economic area, corporations are allowed to take legal action – potentially overriding sovereign countries’ legal precendents — over their right to profit from that market. In the immigration front, NAFTA, by permitting heavily-subsidized US corn and other agri-business products to compete with small Mexican farmers, has driven the Mexican farmer off the land due to low-priced imports of US corn and other agricultural products. Some 2 million Mexicans have been forced out of agriculture, and many of those that remain are living in desperate poverty. These people are among those that cross the border to feed their families. (Meanwhile, corn-based tortilla prices climbed by 50%. No wonder many so Mexican peasants have called NAFTA their ‘death warrant (Common dreams, 2006).
In a nutshell, NAFTA, the ficticious free trade agreement once labelled as a “new international structure, not simply a trade agreement” by former Secretary of State and murderer, Henry Kissinger, is a method to force countries to lower their standards built up over decades of court and legal struggles. These countries signed up to NAFTA and the World Trade organization are indeed starting to realize the full effects of so called “free trade,” which is in fact a permit to allow countries to dump their slave labor goods on their markets.