Thursday, February 17, 2011

Feeling Minnesota

The US is proposing a fee to Canadians visiting the US. But this fee should not be viewed as a fee that would give Canadian travellers the privilege of visiting their neighbours to the South, but rather, it is a measure to help curb the rising costs of security installed across US airports. The fee of roughly $5.50 a head won't apply to private vehicles crossing the border, but will apply to those who are visiting by air or by sea. Which means that every time that you fly into the US, you're paying an extra $5.50 to be patted down by security, which gives the expression "feeling Minnesota" a whole new meaning.

The US insists that it doesn't want to curb the flow of Canadians to the US with this measure, but that's probably exactly what it will do. All things considered, the increasingly heavy measures taken on by paranoid airport security agents who are ready to arrest people over eye makeup is reason enough to discourage a visit to the US, but then, the knowledge that an added fee paid by the individual is helping to subsidize these measures is just plain wrong. The US is free to protect itself any way it wants to and we won't tell them what's right or wrong as Canadians- it just seems insulting for them to expect us to pay for it.

Canadians are accommodating people. We practically invented politically correct. Our most commonly used word is sorry. We apologize for everything. We even apologize for apologizing. So as a Canadian, I'll apologize in advance for what I'm about to say. But sorry or not, I don't think it's the responsibility of Canadians to subsidize extreme security measures taken on by the US because of strong public fear.

Travelling to the US is already a burden. Not only do we have to take into account the various ups and downs of our loonie to dollar ratio, we usually have to book unfamiliar airlines, break out our passports and remember to pack super carefully in case our nail clippers set off an alarm. Then, once we actually go to the airport, we're treated first like criminals at an interrogation, and then like cattle on the flight. It hardly seems worthwhile to go through all of that aggravation just so that we can then pay the US more money for visiting their country and supporting their tourist economy with our hard-earned dollars and even harder-earned vacation days (few and far in between for most of us).

On top of all that, they're usually not happy to have us. We don't get treated with any type of consideration and some of us even get heck for not speaking 'American' while other people ask us how much snow we really get. It's not that our American counterparts don't like us; they just treat us like dumb cousins. Most of their knowledge of us is reduced to outmoded stereotypes and not funny jokes. Not to mention the people from Quebec who always hear about Celine Dion.

My advice to Canadians? STAY HOME. If you're going to spend 2 weeks off somewhere, spend it in Canada. Head out West to Vancouver for some of the best sushi of your life or off to the East Coast for some natural beauty and friendly pubs. Bask in the festivals in Montreal or take in some culture in Toronto. Our own economy can use the dollars. And our country has a lot to offer.

No pat downs required.

No comments:

Post a Comment