Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is doing his best Sheila Broflovski from South Park imitation by shouting “Blame Canada!” and suggesting a wall along the northern border is a “legitimate issue.” He told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press that people along the northern border are interested in a wall.
Is northern border security a lot different than the security on the southern border? Absolutely, but there are plenty of reasons for it. The U.S. has a much different relationship with Canada, than it does with Mexico. Canada has drug cartels, but they appear to be focused on distributing product in Canada, not in the U.S. National Post wrote earlier this year on what outlaw motorcycle gangs from the U.S. are doing in Canada.
In recent months alone, notorious biker clubs from Europe, the United States and Australia — all strong, international organizations with a history of violence and crime — have each established new chapters in Canada. Each region has its own story of acquiescence and acrimony…The Rebels Motorcycle Club, the largest club in Australia with chapters in Europe and the United States, formed three chapters in Canada last summer: in Stratford, Ont., the Vancouver area and Edmonton.
The Vagos Motorcycle Club — one of the fastest growing outlaw clubs south of the border — formed a chapter in Peterborough in 2012. In February there was a schism, with some members defecting to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The former Vagos may even have formed a new Outlaws chapter.
The Vancouver Sun also wrote that Mexican cartels trying to set up shop in Canada.
For years, local crime groups travelled south to the U.S. and Mexico to work with the cartels. Police now confirm that the Mexican crime groups have moved members north so they can be on the ground in B.C. and other parts of Canada. Calgary Police recently revealed that cartel members are also operating in that Alberta city.
Sure seems like Canada needs to have tougher border security with the U.S. than the U.S. does Canada (that’s a joke people). But a wall on the northern border wouldn’t work for the same reasons why the wall Donald Trump wants on the southern border wouldn’t work. Here’s how the U.S.-Canada border looks in most of New Hampshire, the place Walker said people were raising questions about a wall.
That’s mostly thick forest, with no real open space except for a couple places on the Canadian side. The forest is pretty thick even at US Border Inspection Station Pittsburg in New Hampshire.
Again, not a really easy place for people to sneak in. How does the border in Maine look? It’s a mix of forest and farmland.
So unless Walker wants to do a massive seizure of private property through eminent domain for the wall, it wouldn’t work. What about the border between Vermont and Canada? Well a “moat” technically already exists with the St. Lawrence River. Then there are the Great Lakes which do a pretty good job at imitating a moat too. So where would Walker put a wall? In the middle of the lakes? That’d seem a little ridiculous, if not expensive beyond belief. There also doesn’t seem to be a point in building a wall in Minnesota. The federal government would run into the same eminent domain problem it would run into in Maine (and parts of Texas along the Mexican border). Unless the government really wanted to seize a bunch of private property, it’s useless to put the wall up. There really doesn’t seem to be a point in building a wall in the Northeast and Great Lakes region.
Private property rears its “ugly head” again in North Dakota, where there are large tracts of land along the border.
A northern border wall runs into even more topography issues in Idaho and Washington where there are thick forests and mountains and later…more farmland!
So if all this is true, then why in the world would Walker bring up a northern border wall? A part of it has to do with the unfounded rumor September 11th terrorists sneaked into the U.S. through Canada, much of it thanks to a 2009 comment by then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. U.S. Senator John McCain also beat the “Blame Canada!” drum last year by calling the U.S.-Canada border “porous.”
“There is a great concern that our southern border, and our northern border, is porous and that they will be coming across…So is there a specific direct threat? No. But is there any doubt as to what their goal is? Mr. Baghdadi [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi], the day he left our prison in Iraq, Camp Bucca, said ‘See you in New York.'”
If McCain and Walker had bothered actually looking at the northern border they would have realized why it’s so “porous.” There’s no way to build a wall unless the government is really willing to seize a ton of private land and turn it into federal land. And it shouldn’t do that at all. There’s nothing wrong with trying to protect the country, but there’s a delicate balance between security and running roughshod on the rights of private individuals, whether it’s on who they talk to or the land they own. Putting a wall on the northern border won’t solve anything, and increasing funding so more Border Patrol agents could patrol the region doesn’t seem like a real wise financial decision either. Walker’s comments might get the attention of some Trump supporters, but it’s going to do nothing to help those who aren’t. If anything, it’s going to earn him scorn and derision, and maybe a cameo the next time South Park decides to do an episode making fun of Canada.