The Queer Border I

On a hot Saturday evening my fiancé Susan and I drove across the Peace Bridge to Buffalo, NY from Toronto, ON for a punk rock show. We drove across the international border and to the United States from Canada because many bands, especially smaller acts without extensive resources, won’t visit the land of short summers any longer.

Why? They won’t perform in Canada because of the unnecessary complexities that the Justin Trudeau government has created to cross. It’s much easier to just just move on to Pittsburgh, PA or Canton, OH instead. Why bother? The U.S. population is estimated at 335 million, Canada at 38 million. And Americans have more money.

In the European Schengen Area passport holders have been able to transit without customs constraints since the late 1980s. Instead, North America is becoming more restrictive. With those restrictions Canadians and Americans are losing their freedoms. In the early 1990s, when I first started visiting the U.S. with friends, Canadians didn’t require a passport either. A birth certificate, driver’s licence, and perhaps mom’s permission was sufficient.

Now not only is a passport required, but travellers must have completed a long and confusing online form that seems to require most of your life history. There’s also an app called ArriveCAN. For the sake of your privacy and security, I don’t recommend you download the app. It’s likely tracking your day-to-day movements. According to Sergio R. Karas, principal of Karas Immigration Law Professional Corporation, the “intrusion on individual privacy far outweighs the minimal gain that can be gleaned from the information collected in the name of public safety.”

In this case, the trip to the Queen City was very much worth it for us. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers appeared stressed out. But we know they’re just doing their job fulfilling whatever wasteful procedures the Canadian government requires.

Remember concerts? The Jasons, the Dwarves and the headlining Queers rocked an amazing show at Mohawk Place.