FOR HOMELAND SECURITY officials, it’s a point of pride. For Canadians, it’s a festering sore point.
Since the 9/11 jihadist attacks, the 5,525-mile-long border between Canada and the United States has been transformed from the world’s friendliest to a high security zone marked by fortified crossing points, thermal “body detectors,” swiveling surveillance cameras, and the occasional low-skimming Blackhawk helicopter or spy drone.
This is a bitter change for Canadians, most of whom live within 100 miles of the US and who — more than Americans — routinely cross the border for shopping, business, or pleasure. These days they are closely questioned and obliged to show a passport. (For decades, a provincial driver’s license sufficed — and was seldom inspected.) The number of Americans travelling to Canada, meanwhile, has dropped.
Both nations have been hurt by what Peter Andreas, a professor of international studies at Brown University, refers to as the “Mexicanization” of the US-Canada border, marked by “increasing militarization and lack of flexibility’’ by the Americans.