Thursday, October 26, 2006

Canada: The New Australia?

In 1868, the last boatload of convicts exiled from Britain arrived in Australia.
A mere 138 years later, the first convict exiled from the US arrived in... Ontario?

I refer of course to the case of Malcolm Watson, a convicted American sex offender, who was given his choice of sentence by a judge:

Either a year in a US jail;
Three years' exile in Canada.
Where he already lives with his wife and three children.

I bet he had to think hard and long about that one.

But Canada is far from becoming the new Australia, and the main difference is, the convicts sent to Australia were meant to provide labour to a developing land.
Mr. Watson is meant to provide Canada with...???

Upon hearing the news of this case I remarked to an American friend, "WTF, that can't be legal?"
To which he replied, "Since when is the US government concerned with what is legal?"
Duh. How silly of me.

The Canadian and Ontario governments, happily, are not amused, and the latest news is that Mr. Watson was arrested today while trying to enter Canada from the US.

I'm not clear on whether he was in the US legally on probation grounds, or not. I don't much care. I am outraged that Canada is perceived as an alternative to incarceration. Are American judges so arrogant as to believe that being deprived of breathing American air is equivalent to loss of personal freedom? Having to live in Canada for three years is punishment?
And what gives a judge in New York State the authority to decide that Canada must accept this person even though he had permission to live and work here before his conviction?

I cannot wrap my mind around the concept of one country imposing an exile to another country - a friendly country - unilaterally. Canada must send this and any other American pervert home. We have enough of our own to deal with.

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