American journalist held at Canadian border over fear of negative Vancouver Olympics comments
The Vancouver Olympics haven't even happened yet and I'm already sick of them. Seriously, I wish this entire country would just shut up about them. I'll watch, yes, and I'll cheer on the Canadians, but the nationalism and self-glorification annoy me.
And this -- this is embarrassing, appalling, and telling of what this country has become:
U.S. journalist Amy Goodman said she was stopped at a Canadian border crossing south of Vancouver on Wednesday and questioned for 90 minutes by authorities concerned she was coming to Canada to speak against the Olympics.
Goodman says Canadian Border Services Agency officials ultimately allowed her to enter Canada but returned her passport with a document demanding she leave the country within 48 hours.
Goodman, 52, known for her views opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, told CBC News on Thursday that Canadian border agents asked her repeatedly what subjects she would cover at scheduled speaking engagements in Vancouver and Victoria.
Goodman said she told them she planned to speak about the debate over U.S. health care reform and the wars in Asia.
After much questioning, Goodman said the officials finally asked if she would be speaking about the 2010 Olympics.
"He made it clear by saying, 'What about the Olympics?'" said Goodman. "And I said, 'You mean when President Obama went to Copenhagen to push for the Olympics in Chicago?'"
"He said, 'No. I am talking about the Olympics here in 2010.' I said, 'Oh I hadn't thought of that,'" said Goodman.
"He said, 'You're saying you're not talking about the Olympics?'"
"He was clearly incredulous that I wasn't going to be talking about the Olympics. He didn't believe me," Goodman said.
Goodman said her car was searched and the officials demanded to look at her notes and her computer.
What the hell's wrong with us -- with Canada? Are we really so scared that someone might say something bad about us and our oh-so-freakin'-important Olympics that we'll go to these oppressive lengths? Honestly, I really don't give a shit about the Olympics in terms of what they mean for this country. (I want our athletes to do well, but, beyond that, whatever.) Indeed, I hope that reporters -- both Canadian and international -- do apply a critical eye to the Vancouver Olympics. (The authorities are clearly worried about something getting out, aren't they?)
Sure, I realize that probably most, if not all, Olympic host countries do this sort of thing. The crackdown in Beijing, for example, must have been far worse, if fully expected from the brutal totalitarians who run China. But this doesn't excuse Canada one bit, and if this is what we're doing to foreign reporters, including to good ones like Goodman, we should be ashamed of ourselves. The Olympics are no excuse for jingoism, bullying, and crackdowns on the freedom of the press -- or on freedom at all, for that matter -- even if they so often are. And we -- we Canadians -- should get over ourselves. If this is how insecure we are, and if this is how pathetically we respond when the international spotlight is upon us, then we deserve, at the very least, to be ridiculed, and to be exposed.