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o brother Joe (Lieberman), WTF with the FSA?

February 7, 2011

U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut announced last month that he’s

retiring from politics.  So how best can he cap off a thrill-filled career?  By

worrying about his upstairs neighbours, that’s how.  Joe just found out

that only a fourth of the U.S. – Canadian border has “full situational aware-

ness”.  An “FSA” apparently signifies a zone in which evildoers are likely to

be caught if they’re actively doing evil.


“The American people are grossly under-protected along our northern

border,” claims Lieberman, who is chair of the Senate Homeland Security

committee.  He suggests that it may be time to consider requiring visas

for Canadians heading south.  I, for one, would certainly appreciate yet

another layer of anguish to traveling.  Maybe we could put our visas in

our skivvies for the TSA to fish out.


I understand Joe’s wish to keep toque-topped terrorists and B.C. bud

bearers out of his country.  But why discourage all Canucks?  Does he

fear that Canadian values like civility, honesty and a sense of fair play

would threaten the U.S.?  Lieberman would be prudent to check the

accuracy of this perceived problem.


In 2008, for example, 819 people were nabbed illegally entering Canada from

the U.S., while 952 folks were grabbed coming in illegally to Canada from the

U.S.  You don’t hear us up here complaining when an undesirable American

visits, unless it’s Lindsey Lohan.


Joe L. also believes that Canada has softer immigration laws than the U.S.

He might be right on that one in general.  However, Jude and I could argue

otherwises on a personal level.  When we were moving up here in ’05, we were

turned back at the border during one of our crossings.  We thought we’d done

everything by the book, but when we told an immigration official that we’d

already sold our home in California, she said “normal people don’t do that”.


There was no point to explaining that there are no normal people in California.

International borders are humour-free zones.  We spent four weeks in a motel

in Blaine, Washington, while we untied the bureaucratic knots.  We still don’t

really know what we did wrong.  So bear in mind: if it can happen to two cute

gray-haired honkies, it can happen to anyone.




I can’t leave you on such a downer note on such a pleasant day.  Right now the

sun is joyously flowing into our family room.  Witness:


This is a rare treat for a February day here.  We also get an unexpected boost from

our solar panels.  I’ll post about the old car tomorrow.



  1. February 7, 2011 12:26 pm

    I can personally attest that the Canadian officials in Blaine have NO sense of humour! They delayed me from picking someone up at the Vancouver airport because they thought I was moving up there. It was only after showing them photos of my home and divorce papers which proved that I still owned my home that they decided that I wasn’t a threat.

    The funniest part was him asking WHY I had a complete set of bedding with me. I just turned a serious eye on him and asked him if he had ever used a black light on hotel bedding? I continued to tell him that I HAD, and that I NEVER sleep on hotel sheets if I can help it, having been in the industry and knowing what people do on those comforters!

    That was the capper I think, but Canadian immigration is no sinecure, that’s for sure!

    • February 7, 2011 1:21 pm

      Thanks for a corroborating story, Rosie. When Jude and I left the immigration office (at the truck crossing), we were both extremely upset. The official who didn’t consider us normal warned us that if we headed toward Canada
      we would face severe consequences. Jude, who’s usually ever so cool, went north by mistake. I told her to make the quickest U-turn of her life before we caused an international incident. She did, so there’s no stain on our Canadian permanent record. And thanks for teaching me the word “sinecure”.

  2. February 7, 2011 1:59 pm

    I think that sinecure is where we get the word/phrase/concept of, “Oh, that’s a cinch!”

    Believe me, I was totally freaking out inside about getting over the border, I was meeting my beloved, and I had no way of letting him know that I was delayed because my phone was not working, and neither was his! I would have called the airport and left a message for him, but it would have been a very, very distressing situation.

    Back in 98 when we went north with our travel trailer and guns and stuff, they let us through with no problem, and likewise in about 2000 when I went to the grocery store for some back bacon, they just waved me through. But they have truly tightened up their panties in the mean time, and it shows!

    • February 7, 2011 2:31 pm

      I certainly understand how an international jaunt for back bacon would be a wave-through, but “guns and stuff”? Then again, both those crossings were before 9/11. Steven Wright once said he was entering Canada and the border guard said “do you have any weapons?” Wright responded, “what do you need?”

  3. Meghon permalink
    February 8, 2011 4:20 am

    When we’ve come up to visit you, we haven’t had any problems coming in, however, we were harrassed upon returning to our own country once. The US guard grilling us was alarmed that we lived in Virginia, but the license plates on the car were from Washington state. “Um, it’s a rental car,” is hard to say without adding “Duh…” at the end.

    • February 8, 2011 10:22 am

      Other folks, Meghon is my daughter. I once hitched a ride to Seattle with her and her family after they had visited Jude and me. Her husband Tim and I were in front and Meghon was in back with their toddler son Wylie and
      9-year-old daughter Ella. When we approached the U.S. border, we stressed to the naturally-ebullient Ella how important it was to be quiet since this was such a serious venture. As the stern, crew-cutted sentinel questioned Tim and me, Ella leaned over to Meghon and whispered “I see what you mean”.

  4. sassysista permalink
    February 8, 2011 11:22 am

    Borders certainly make people uptight but I guess without them we might all be too much the same (sigh)

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