Well, it’s about time.
Those of us living in the northern part of the country have waited years for a presidential candidate to address our border issues. Across the barely defended line from Canada, hockey players, Cuban cigars, cold fronts and Niagara Falls have been streaming unstoppably, and nobody has taken any action.
Thanks to this presidential campaign, that stops now.
Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was asked by moderator Chuck Todd why, when so many candidates have been talking about building a wall on the Mexican border, nobody is talking about a wall on the Canadian border.
Walker was ready for him, saying that folks on the campaign trail in New Hampshire had been asking about security from Canada.
“They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago,” agreed Walker. “So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at.
Except, in this time of political correctness, the Canadian threat has been too explosive an issue for even Donald Trump to take up. Meanwhile, immigrants have been oozing across our northern border like maple syrup, to the point where a prominent Republican presidential candidate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, was actually born in Canada himself.
For years, politicians have been journeying to glare across the Mexican border, shaking their fists and pledging to seal it hermetically. But nobody ever brings his campaign plane to the Canadian border, to make it clear that we’re keeping a close eye on those Mounties.
They could be carrying anything under those hats.
This is a pressing concern to Northern cities like Portland, separated from Canada by a bare 284 miles.
Or, as they probably want us to say, 457 kilometres.
(With typical weakness before foreign threats, one Democratic candidate, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, is actually running in support of the metric system. He’ll learn that Americans want a leader, not a litre.)
Even more dangerously for Oregon, a key element in our economy, the Columbia River, comes down from Canada. Anything could come into America on that river, and our main defense seems to be sea lions.
(Of course, if we build that wall, we’ll need some kind of gate for the Columbia to come in, or it’s going to get pretty dark around here.)
There would be, admittedly, a number of complications to building a wall along the Canadian border. There have been problems in effectively walling off Mexico, although, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the border with Mexico is just 1,989 miles long. The U.S. border with Canada is 5,525 miles long, and a lot of it is hard to find because it’s covered with snow.
Of course, we could always leave Alaska to build its own wall, which would save a lot of miles.
Oregon’s vulnerability to Canada is clear. Besides $5.6 billion in Oregon trade with Canada – somehow, critics of NAFTA never worry about jobs lost to Canada, although Canadian jobs all have health insurance – hundreds of thousands of Canadian tourists stream into Oregon every year, with nobody watching them.
Some motels on the Oregon coast even fly Canadian flags, and some businesses in Oregon accept Canadian money. People in Seattle actually watch Canadian television.
Most insidiously, Canadians often speak English. Anybody you deal with in Oregon might really be Canadian.
For years, Republican presidential candidates have pursued a Southern Strategy. At last, with Walker, there’s one who’s prepared to take on a Northern strategy. Coming from Wisconsin, he’s the northernmost GOP hopeful; no wonder all those candidates from Florida are indifferent to the Ottawa onslaught.
But just as Sarah Palin could look across from Alaska and see Russia, Scott Walker can look across Lake Superior from Wisconsin and see Canada (if he peeks around the edge of Minnesota).
You can see Oregon responding to his call. The deepest roots of our history are in resistance to Canada, with the slogan of “54-40 or fight.
Now, a 5,440-mile fence along the border would just about fix the problem.
Right now, it seems that nobody even knows where Saskatchewan starts and North Dakota ends.
(It’s also not clear that anyone cares.)
But as Scott Walker looks at the “legitimate issue” of a transcontinental wall to defend against Canada, he can be assured that Portland will be with him.
And the next time the Canadian navy comes here for Rose Festival, we’ll be ready.