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Amy Goodman Gets Brilliant Story Idea from Canadian Border Guards

Amy Goodman and why her next Column is likely to be "The Police State North of the 49th Parallel" (Laugh, cry, but whatever you do, read on.)

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Photo of Amy Goodman courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Well, it's official. Suspicion of criticizing the 2010 Olympics gets you on a watch list at the Canadian border. Want to come to Canada and discuss the environmental shame that is the tar sands? Go ahead. Want to meddle in Canadian military policy in Afghanistan? Fill your boots. Want to criticize the Government's position on Global Warming? Whatever, dude.

 

But if you cross the border and you've got that look on your face that says “The ice on the luge track might be a bit slushy if El Niño makes its way through,” then watch out! The Canadian Border Services Agency will not tolerate any Olympic dissent!

 

On Wednesday night, American Journalist Amy Goodman, host of the independent radio show, Democracy Now, was crossing into Canada. She was scheduled to speak in Vancouver and Victoria, while on a tour promoting her new book Breaking the Sound Barrier, on the subjects of Iraq, Afghanistan, Medicare, and global warming – all sensitive issues that might make a patriotic border guard give pause.

 

So when Goodman told the border guards why she was coming to Canada, she was asked to pull over, brought inside and questioned for an hour and a half. Known for being bold and forthright, she was honest about the subject matter she'd be covering. When she said she'd be discussing Afghanistan, they said “What else?”

 

"Global warming."

 

“What else?”

 

"Medicare."

 

“What Else?”

 

It must have made her wonder if she was at the Canadian border crossing, or a on a game show trying to guess the secret word. So Goodman had to just come straight out and ask, “Like what, 'what else?'”

 

And they said, “Will you be talking about the Olympics?” Being American, the only Olympics currently on her radar was the failed bid for Chicago and President Obama's participation. The guards said, "No, will you be speaking about the Olympics in Vancouver?"

 

(Editor's note: Nice to know the Canadian border guards are doing their job. How brilliant! Give North America's top left-wing journalist the idea to "start talking about the Olympics on one of the most listened to radio programmes. I sense an award in the offing.")

 

I'd love to see the memo that came down instructing this new policy.

 

“Dirty bombs and child pornography are no longer priorities for border officials. When questioning people entering the country, ask them what they think about the speed skating oval. If response is anything less than enthusiastic (“I never really thought about it” is not an acceptable answer.) then begin stage two interrogation. Ask them if they, or anyone they know, has ever been a member of a bronze medal match. Keep them busy until reinforcements can be dispatched.”

 

At this moment, sniffer dogs are being trained to smell anxiety caused by ambivalence toward the torch relay.

 

This is a blight that Canadians will not tolerate.

 

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(17) Comments

ChrisS November 27th 2009 | 1:13 PM

Just when anti-Olympic activity needs a boost, CBSA steps into the breach!. Woohoo! Yes, Ms. Goodman will plaster this event across the left of centre blogosphere. Sports reporter and anti-IOC commentator Dave Zirin has already posted on this. Expect that in days, millions of people who never gave the 2010 Games a thought will now be asking, "What the fuck?".  And in Canada, you say? Yep.

Question: Did the fools in CBSA think this up themselves or did they get help from ISU. Just asking...

canadiankid November 27th 2009 | 10:22 PM
She should get the officer's name and make a formal complaint to the Canadian Government, and to the U.S. government. The officer should be fired. Breach of authority, or conspiracy to commit lunacy ... if you prefer.
Legally officers can ask you anything they want and look through anything on you that they feel is relevant... or not relevant, or whatever suits their fancy, honestly. Perhaps we should probably be complaining about the Charter or the Criminal Code here if we want a change in procedure.
elinruby November 28th 2009 | 12:00 AM
I am proud of you! There are those who thought the whole Maher Arar thing was Canada hanging around with the Bad Kids, but I knew all along that you were capable of your own brand of oh-so-nice fascism! Kudos from an expatriate who can now hold her head high. Yessir, no more references to Canada as the little bunny of nations. You showed them, but good. I always knew those jackboots would fit one day.
My dad was born in CA as were all of his siblings. I've always held CA in high regard until recently. Here in NYS, USA we listen faithfully to As It Happens on our radio and the more we listen the more it sounds like CA is becoming more like the States, using 9/11 for any excuse to step on the rights of individuals. I listened to Amy recounting her detention by the border guards and she related it very calmly with no exaggeration or dramatics. Someone up there must fear her...and now she's got every right to investigate why she was singled out for this "legal" detention and search. Thanks AIH for airing your interview with Amy Goodman as this has not been in any of the American headlines that I've found so far today.
shamash November 29th 2009 | 7:19 PM
I wish to thank the Canada Border Services Agency for detaining the American journalist Amy Goodman at the Douglas Border on Wednesday evening. Amy Goodman came to Vancouver and Victoria to promote her book “Breaking the Sound Barrier” in which she emphasizes the importance of a free independent media in a democratic society. The Canadian border guards detained Amy for about an hour because they were afraid she was going to talk about the Olympics (which she wasn’t). As a result, her talk was delayed by an hour. Amy Goodman’s audience and message have increased 1000 fold thanks to the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (radio and TV, local and national), The Globe and Mail national newspaper, The National Post national newspaper, local community radios and bloggers. How ironic! Yom
dirkb November 30th 2009 | 5:17 PM
but that said,perhaps she should write a column about how her country is more akin to a police state, and how the US forces countries like Canada to emulate their paranoid security concerns.i.e unless Canada does this or that and conforms to American ideas of security along the border or in areas of mutual concern the US threaten actions that might/will impact trade etc etc between the two. All said I am ashamed Canada seems to be getting as paranoid as the American,but please Goodman, spare us the police state rhetoric. But if she must,I hope she makes the connections and understands which country is actually the police state and which one is driving the agenda,its not Canada. Indeed the the US border service use the same tactics,and have refused Canadian academics etc from entering the US based on goggle results of their writing/views.They like their Cnd counterpart also snoop in people lap-tops etc etc. So before Amy get all self-righteous/indignant things perhaps she should looker closer to home.
bobbyo99 December 2nd 2009 | 8:20 PM
Is it just me, or have things really started to go downhill for Canada as a democracy? Whatever their policies at home, it seems that the current government is hellbent on destroying Canada's image abroad as a peace-loving, democratic and progressive nation. This incident reads like a bad joke, but the implications are extremely sinister. It frightens me to think that Canada is heading down the path where foreigners travelling to our country will be detained and forbidden from entering, not because they pose a threat to our society, but because they might dare to question or criticize us. What happened to free speech? Oh my, yes, I forgot--now that we're an Olympic city, free speech no longer matters. Something has to change! Here's another article by a well known British columnist bemoaning the dark road that Canada has taken with regards to climate change policy: http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2009/12/01/the-urgent-threat-to-world-pe... Why isn't the domestic media talking about this?
Californiakayaker December 5th 2009 | 8:08 AM
I really thought Canada was a place where free peace loving folks who would rather stay out of illegitimate conflicts and respect the freedom of speech and thought. Perhaps I should re-think that ? Perhaps I need to look at publications which will tell me more about the true policies and thought patterns of those I thought were peaceful and respectful and visit other countries. After all, wouldn't want to be detained at the border because I love Democracy Now and Amy Goodman !
bdb12 December 7th 2009 | 6:18 PM
Well Kudos to the Canadian Government for managing to tarnish it's image and draw negative attention to the Olympics. Thanks to your treatment of respected American journalist, Amy Goodman, we are now fully aware of the true and sinister nature of the Olympics. Good JOB! So glad you did that.
nima December 8th 2009 | 8:08 AM
Back in 1985, we wouldn't let Farley Mowat into the US for his "Sea of Slaughter" book tour, all because Mr. Mowat had once farcically threatened to shoot down any US B-52's that flew over his Newfoundland property with his trusty .22, a "threat" he had issued some 27 years prior. But since we kept him out entirely, I'll give you Canadians credit for letting Ms. Goodman in after all.
FreeWil December 21st 2009 | 6:18 PM
Too bad you didn't film this incident! A friend had a similar experience and got the whole thing on tape. It proved to be very entertaining to watch on cold Canadian winter nights. Surprised you didn't know that Candada is a Police state. Love your reporting. Thanks for the great work!
I HAVE BEEN LIVING IN CANADA FOR 20 YEARS AND I CAN TELL YOU ONE THING : NOTHING IS MORE UNWELCOME IN THAT COUNTRY THAN DISSIDENCE OR CRITICISM! HENCE I AM NOT REALLY SURPRISED AT WHAT HAPPENED TO MRS GOODMANN. I HAD A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE ONCE WHILE WAITING FOR MY BUS TO OTTAWA, IN MONTREAL AND WAS HAULED FROM THE TOILET BY TO SECURITY GUARDS WHO SAID THAT I WAS WATCHING PORNOGRAPHY WHILE...CRAPPING! THEY EVEN SAID THAT THEY HAD ME ON A TAPE, WHICH THEY COULD NOT PRODUCE SINCE THE WHOLE WAS, OF COURSE, A BLATANT LIE! THE RESULT...I MISSED MY BUS AND WAS EVEN PROHIBITED TO GO BACK TO THE BUS STATION THAT DAY. SOUNDS LIKE A JOKE! WELL, IT WAS EVERYTHING BUT FUNNY TO ME AND THE GUARDS WHERE NOT LAUGHING EITHER!
MysTerri December 29th 2009 | 8:08 AM
dirkb - is probably a cop. That's how they talk when they want to distract from the real issue. Canada is a police state. The Olympics are an evil thing that has caused the poor and homeless much hardship. Police have killed the homeless, even when they are innocent and the mayor of Vancouver allows police on police investigations. With a mayor like that who needs a life? He makes it easier for the homeless to find a place to die than to live. The mayor of Vancouver has also made up this new Olympic Law giving the police the right to 'disappear' the poor and the homeless. Supposedly it is a law just for the games, but we all suspect this may be an ongoing thing. Having witnessed the death of Michael Vann Hubbard in front of Belkin House where I lived, an innocent homeless man killed by police who got away with it, I went to the Annual General Meeting of Vision Vancouver (the mayor's party) a few days after the shooting. I asked the mayor if he would be calling for an independent investigation into Michael's death. The mayor said that Vancouver, the wealthiest city in Canada, could not afford an independent investigation into the matter. I told the mayor that if he didn't call for an independent investigation, that we residents of Belkin House were going to wonder, "Who's next?". The mayor's aid, standing right bedside the mayor, answered me then saying, "You ALL are". A friend of mine was standing beside me and heard the mayor's aid say this to me. My friend is a reliable witness to this incident with the mayor and his aid. I took that as a threat and began having nightmares night after night that the police were shooting their way through Belkin House and the cop that shot Michael, in my nightmare would burst through my door and kill me in my sleep. I woke up screaming and woke up women on my floor. The staff of Belkin House were aware of my nightmares. I became so depressed I had to see a psychiatrist about it and he put me on anti-depressants. My therapist also knew of the incident and helped me work through the fear the mayor's aid had caused me. So dirkb is just blowing steam and is probably one of those cops the mayor is allowing to kill the poor here in BC where the minimum wage is the lowest in the country and has been frozen throughout Gordon Campbell's mandate, forcing people onto the street due to unlivable wages. So you are quite right. The Olympics are games where the strongest of the strong are annihilating the weakest of the weak.
MysTerri December 28th 2009 | 7:19 PM

The wealthy cannot afford a conscience; it's bad for business. Hence, the Filthy Rich.

MysTerri December 29th 2009 | 8:08 AM
With the world up to its eyeballs in debt, we better worry "What's going to happen next?". War, especially a world war, creates wealth (for a few) like you wouldn't believe. It has always been that to instigate the populations into war, a tragic event occurs (Lusitania, Hitler used the trick to get Germans into the war mode, Pearl Harbor, 9/11 etc, etc). Now think about the Vancouver Olympics. What a more perfect way to instigate the whole world into war than by allowing a tragic event to happen at the 2010 games? Vancouver's port is run by the cash-strapped country of Dubai. What might they make a killing off of by letting it into the country? A dirty bomb? Blow up the Downtown Eastside and no more worries about homeless. Poof! they're gone. And all those rundown properties that the BC government bought? Won't have to do any expensive renos there. Just think of the money to be made off "housing starts" after the tragedy. People it don't look good. All the Olympic Security in town have been practicing for a tragic event clean up with all their protective gear. Meanwhile, as anyone with binoculars from any rooftop in the Downtown Eastside, can see, the security forces are not at the port inspecting each and every container that comes through it, which they should be if they ARE worried about Security of the games. The timing is too perfect. Wakey Wakey!!
COPE2 February 4th 2010 | 2:14 PM
i am not surprised this happened to goodman at all. i have been to canada many times and also have had very unpleasant experiences with canada. i dont think there are many differences between the usa and canada. out of all the countries ive been to, and ive been to alot, id say that canada is only the second worst in terms of its authoritarian ways.