Hopes that the Winter Olympics would cause the Pacific Northwest to "draw closer, deepening environmental, economic, and cultural connections" have been dashed by a U.S.-Canada border that "has become more rigid than ever," the New York Times reported Saturday. -- As a result, "dreams of a united Cascadia remain just that." -- "[A]s of last June, anyone entering the United States by land from Canada must show a passport, including United States citizens. Border crossings often take longer even as their number has declined," William Yardley said. -- COMMENT: What the New York Times left out: exaggerated national security state imperatives constricting cross-border traffic. -- For example: UFPPC member Tom McCarthy was illegitimately prevented from entering Canada two weeks ago. -- Stopped at the border, he was questioned, vehicle-searched, and turned back, all because he had had the temerity to engage local police in defense of the First Amendment; no charges were ever filed, but Tom's freedom of movement was taken away by the national security state, at least temporarily. ...
DREAMS OF A UNIFIED NORTHWEST ARE HALTED AT THE BORDER
By William Yardley
New York Times
February 26, 2010
BLAINE, Washington -- The Winter Olympics have made for strange days here in what many call Cascadia.
In a region that has spent decades trying to transcend its international border, the Games increased optimism that British Columbia and this northwest corner of the United States would draw closer, deepening environmental, economic, and cultural connections. Yet the Olympics have been a reminder that since Sept. 11, 2001, the border has become more rigid than ever, and dreams of a united Cascadia remain just that.
“The place is a whole,” said David McCloskey, a retired professor of sociology at Seattle University and one of Cascadia’s earliest advocates, “but it’s chopped up.”
New factionalism has emerged. The northern constituency has startled some residents by draping itself in a foreign flag, alternately swaggering and fretting about “owning the podium” on behalf of something called Canada. Meanwhile, residents in the southern reaches now need passports just to get around. And when many want to catch the Games on television, the broadcasts are tape-delayed -- even though the events are being played here in the homeland.
“I warned my daughter,” said Debbie Wildeman, an American who initially thought she and her Canadian husband had found the perfect place to live when they settled here in Blaine, just inside the United States border. “Don’t marry a Canadian.”
Had Mr. McCloskey and his allies had their way, the border might not be there at all. For decades they preached of a distinct “bioregion and eco-culture” reaching roughly from southeast Alaska through inland British Columbia and down to Northern California. Pristine peaks, cascading waterfalls, and a shared way of relating to it all would transcend national boundaries through what Mr. McCloskey called “a swearing allegiance to a life in service of the place.”
Purists (and parodists) still talk of secession, from both countries, and Mr. McCloskey still has flags he designed for the nation that would be. Yet while he once ran a nonprofit in service of the cause, the Cascadia Institute, others saw money to be made.
Business leaders and elected officials took the Cascadian dream and worked to make it a brand, a cross-border powerhouse of trade and tourism tilted toward Asia, the Arctic, and the new, all to be linked by high-speed rail, a green economy, and a sense of independence from Ottawa and Washington. Mayors and regional planners attended conferences during the 1980s and 1990s. A journal, *The New Pacific*, began publishing out of Vancouver. As the Canadian city pursued the 2010 Games, legislatures in the Northwest United States passed resolutions in support. Boosters predicted a boom south of the border.
And at dawn on the day the Olympics opened, Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington met Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia at the Blaine crossing as part of the Olympic torch relay -- the only time the torch crossed into the United States. Both urged visitors to Vancouver to take a “two-nation vacation.”
Yet as of last June, anyone entering the United States by land from Canada must show a passport, including United States citizens. Border crossings often take longer even as their number has declined.
“It’s fear,” said Mike Harward, who has been running a van shuttle across the border from a partly empty shopping center in Blaine. “Fear of the border.”
Ms. Gregoire and Mr. Campbell have tried to help, developing programs to help travelers cross the border more easily, including a special driver’s license that allows certain residents to cross without a passport. For the Olympics, both the Canadian and United States ports of entry have kept far more checkpoints open than usual. A huge, cross-border security effort has improved communications, officials on both sides said.
The governor and premier share goals on environmental policy and want more trade. Tourism officials have held joint events during the Games, and experts met to discuss improving cross-border cooperation. There have been recent successes. A second daily Amtrak train has been added between Seattle and Vancouver during the Olympics and is expected to continue, and the federal government has offered nearly $600 million toward high-speed rail in the region.
Even though overall vehicle traffic has been somewhat higher at times during the Olympics, it has also dipped below normal at others. Lines at Blaine, the busiest West Coast crossing with Canada, have sometimes been nonexistent, going both ways. Amid a global recession, many businesses from Blaine to Bellingham and Seattle say they have seen little if any uptick.
“I’m not convinced in the recession we’re in that we’re going to see as much as we hoped to,” Ms. Gregoire said before the torch ceremony. But, she added, the Games will help “begin the process of promoting the Pacific Northwest internationally: ‘Come to British Columbia. Come to Washington State.’”
Yet Cascadia remains elusive. A few Web sites still promote the idea. *Ecotopia*, a 1975 novel by Ernest Callenbach that helped inform Cascadian thinking (but excluded British Columbia), has found a new audience as environmental awareness increases, and Joel Garreau’s *The Nine Nations of North America*, published in 1981, which unites parts of British Columbia and the West Coast into an environmentally minded whole, can still be tracked down.
Mr. McCloskey, who once traveled Cascadia regularly, has moved to its southern fringe, Eugene, Ore. He has stashed away the first maps he drew of Cascadia, some of which are still cited by advocates for regional cooperation and planning, but he still follows the efforts at regionalism. He was pleased to learn that the United States Board on Geographical Names last fall declared that the three bodies of water that merge where Canada meets Washington State -- Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia -- are now collectively called the Salish Sea.
He said he had not paid much attention to the Olympics, but he did like “that fly-in at the beginning of the show each night, up the mountains and out to the sound, the whale backs. You think, ‘God, this is an incredible place.’”
It is a more complicated one, too.
“I just got a passport last year,” Mr. McCloskey said, “so I could go up and see my buddies.”
PMR ARRESTEE DENIED CANADIAN ENTRY, EVEN THOUGH ALL CHARGES HAVE BEEN DROPPED
By Tom McCarthy
People for Peace, Justice, and Healing
February 22, 2010
I wanted to let folks know that I was turned away at the Canadian border on Monday, February 15th. Although ALL my charges from my three arrests have been dropped or dismissed, apparently the FBI has not gotten around to noting that in its database. Two of the three charges that they cited for denying me entry were from PMR arrests. (The other was from a Smash ICE protest.)
Apparently, if you have been convicted, you are not automatically barred from Canada, but you should talk to a Canadian consulate to see if you can resolve the issue.
I am now in the process of getting documents to prove that all charges have been dropped and expunging from my record from the Tacoma Municipal Court, District Court, and Washington State Police arrest record . . . quite a process. You might want to look into doing this before you head to Canada next.
All three of my arrests were ridiculous and uncostitutional harrassment by the cops, but the Canadian border folks only know what they see on the screen. Myself and five other folks are suing the City of Tacoma for it, but meanwhile folks should be aware that having proof that charges were dismissed when you travel internationally could save some headaches.
Tom from Tacoma
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