Saturday, April 15, 2006

Of Streetcar Subways and Passports

Practical problems force our foot-dragging politicians into creating a subway downtown after all. It will just happen to be at street level, on streetcar tracks, on narrow crowded King Street, competing with cars, taxis, and delivery trucks for road space. Can you imagine being the poor suckers at the back of the proposed train of streetcars not knowing where they are, and the drivers of no use because adding in the old, long-abandoned, requirement to call out the stops is just too much hard work. Then there's the problem of snow. Will the TTC be able to shovel such a long stretch of sidewalk? Of course, in true Toronto fashion, though the subway is needed now, they actually won't implement it for years to come. So why not just build a real one?

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Canadians and Americans will soon need a passport to cross the border. But there's going to be trouble at the border, no not at the border points with booths and customs officers, but in border-straddling buildings. Soon, teens will have to show their passport to a customs officer in their hallways so they can go to bed, town folks will have to show their passports to check out their favourite mysteries, theatre-goers will have to hang onto their passports if they sit in certain seats, pedestrians already have to check in with customs to cross the street, and going to church is already "a real hassle" with having to report "to customs both ways....There goes a family tradition." Welcome to George Bush's lunacy, the family-tradition president who didn't know Canada when he first came to power and like a good father doesn't want to play favourites now. Where the relationship with Mexico goes, so goes the one with Canada.

2 comments:

Classic said...

_Some of these old border towns should have been entirely cleared off the 49th line and moved slightly to one side (either - by a coin flip) a good 100+ years ago.
_I hope children under 16 (non-driving age) can be exempt from passport requirements. From the US view, there are many more internationally transient people(s) nowadays claiming a dual Cdn citizenship, as opposed to "just us visiting old stocks" from "the other side of town".

talk talk talk said...

Yes, it's too bad they didn't do that.

I have no idea how the border guards decide from a driver's license whether someone is a Canadian citizen or not, but I do know they look not just at the country of your passport but your birthplace too. From what I gather in the Toronto Star article, it seems part of the problem is that the customs officers are new, inexperienced, and don't know the townsfolk. Just as I'd like to think the local RCMP detachment knows everyone in a small town, the same ought to be true for customs officers. It's the best way to keep track of who's legit and who's not -- much better than any passport!