borders boundaries and blockages

Crossing international borders can be a hassle. A couple of weeks ago, though, coming back into Canada from the States at Sault Ste.

Crossing international borders can be a hassle.

A couple of weeks ago, though, coming back into Canada from the States at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, it was a pleasure.

Once we presented our passports, the border guard just had three questions for us. Where are you from? How long have you been away? Do you have anything to declare?

After our equally brief answers it was, “Thanks, have a good day” and we were back on the road.

The only easier time I had crossing a border probably dates back to the late-1960s. Some of the loneliest outposts for customs folk exist along the North Dakota-Saskatchewan boundary.

Amidst vast fields of grain you would see a white clapboard house some distance off the two-lane international link then a small single-room building with a flag right at the border. The gatekeeper for the Dominion maintained watch there.

Usually those crossings only operate between sunrise and sunset. When not open, they literally put a few traffic cones on the road to deter would-be border jumpers.

They were gracious to late-night travellers though. They allowed a fair number of metres between the plastic obstacles blocking the southbound lanes and those intended to halt northbound drivers.

Regina bound a 3 a.m., you could slalom through with barely a tap on the brake.

Two presidents and a prime minister will gather next week at Montibello, Quebec. They won’t have any trouble crossing the border.

The intent of their meeting is to continue the work of harmonization of the three major states sharing the continent in key areas of the economy and defence.

This marks the visible progression of the process begun in March of 2005 with the signing of the Security and Prosperity Partnership accord.

Waco, Texas, the site of the inauguration of that accord, has hatched other millennial schemes with notorious, unintended consequences.

The Council on Foreign Relations mapped out in its May 2005 report, Building a North American Community, what plans for deeper integration might look like. The council foresaw, among other things, the development of a North American Union with its own legislative and legal structures, as well as a common currency called the Amero.

Globalization is here. We cannot deny that we have embarked on a period of tremendous economic transition.

The “satanic mills” of the Industrial Revolution a century and a half ago sparked an array of social innovations such as workers’ compensation, old age pensions and other mechanisms that fostered the welfare of citizens and their environment.

Has any leader spoken of the very much-needed globalized forms of these today?

The North American Competitiveness Council was launched as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership accord in June 2006.

When will an equivalent North American Social Council be formed?

No matter how high border walls are built, security tightened or trade restrictions eased; there will be no real economic or social progress until safeguards that ensure the right to an adequate standard of living are in place.

Boundaries and borders will only truly come down when blockages to the realization of individual and collective human rights are recognized and overcome.