And in today's news, apparently Washington is demanding that Canada checks passengers against the U.S. no-fly list *for domestic flights within Canada*.John Ibbitson, a Globe and Mail columnist takes it on.
"Currently, any plane flying in or out of the United States must provide authorities with a passenger manifest and any person considered a security risk by the U.S. may be pulled from the plane.
But a new American proposal attempts to go one step further by demanding that any flight passing through U.S. airspace, even if it doesn't land, must first submit its passengers' names, citizenship, birthdays, and possibly their addresses and credit card details.
Many flights, for example Montreal to Halifax, or Toronto to Calgary, cross U.S. airspace to save time and fuel."
The Earth being round, a flight from Toronto to Montreal often enters American airspace. A flight from Montreal to Halifax or from Halifax to Calgary almost always does. In fact, three-quarters of the roughly 3,000 domestic Canadian flights each week spend part of their time over American soil.I think Ibbitson hasn't spoken with enough Americans. Plenty of us agree that our government is both paranoid and obsessed with demonstrating their power. Many of us know the so-called war on terror is not actually a war, but an excuse for the government to do whatever the hell it wants. And most of us have no opinion on whether Canadians are lax.
The Americans could soon put a stop to it. Unless the Canadian government can change their minds, most of our flights could suddenly become longer and more expensive. . . .
At the root of conflicts over no-fly lists, passports and the detention of foreign nationals lies a fundamental difference between how America and its allies view the war on terror. In Canada and Europe, locating and deterring extremists who might do harm is essentially a law-enforcement concern. You probably shape the issue that way in your own mind.
But most Americans see it differently. They believe terrorists, aided and abetted by weak or sympathetic governments, are out to attack the U.S. and/or its citizens. For the typical American, the war on terror is a war, or at least a question of national security.
For this reason, Americans think Canadians are lax, while Canadians think Americans are paranoid. Fortunately, enough goodwill remains on both sides to overcome most obstacles.
Here's hoping goodwill can settle this dispute as well. Otherwise, it'll be a long flight from Vancouver to Montreal. [Column here.]
As to goodwill, that's anybody's guess.