Dave Richards' Weekly Column in The Woonsocket Call

¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬Dave Richards for March 21st…………

--Here’s an interesting but not surprising news story. A poll conducted by the Reuters news agency released yesterday claims 40 percent of all Canadians surveyed think that if somebody crosses the border into Canada illegally, they should be deported immediately.

Now, I’m sure it seems to the average person that results like that are obvious, expected, and plain common sense and also that it was a silly waste of someone’s time to compile the data and release this boring tidbit of information. It would until you think about it, that is.

Three things came to my mind when I read that report. The first was that it certainly seemed like a waste of time and the only reason the probably released the embarrassingly obvious information is that so much money and time was actually spent on it and someone decided to publish it for only that reason. “Well we might as well publish it after all that work”, sort of thing.

The second thought that came to me was, “Why would anyone start off on that fool’s errand, anyway?” The average person would expect such an obvious conclusion and not have bothered, I thought. Then my mind searched for a possible hidden agenda in this matter. I’m uncomfortable admitting this, but when you work in a news department you often see stories that claim to be about something your audience will find interesting, but are really stories about something else wearing a disguise of legitimacy. After seeing this for many years, your mind just naturally looks for this. And my mind did. So as my mind pondered a possibly hidden agenda in this story, I wondered if it was generated by the Trump administration to somehow support his immigration policies by claiming Canadians thought just like he did.

The third (and I wish it were the first) thought I had, and the strongest thought I had as I thought about this story was………….ONLY 40 PERCENT ???!!! Yikes!!

Let me tell you a little story about crossing the Canadian border. This is a true story, and I don’t even need to pump it up to make it interesting. For many years, my late friend Leo Bernier and I would take these weekend bus trips to Montreal which were very popular many years ago. The premise was you get 40 friends and “friends of friends” to put fifty bucks in the pot, you rent a Conway motor coach, and you go up to Montreal on Friday, see a Canadiens hockey game Saturday night, and ride back to Woonsocket on Sunday morning. A simple idea, often repeated. The bus was packed with booze (we weren’t driving) and Conway always accommodated us by reversing a couple of seats in the bus and adding a table so the guys could play Cribbage to pass the travel time.

As I said, Leo and I went on many of these trips. The ones we went on were organized by Roland…………..gee, can’t remember his last name just now. But anyway, the day came when Roland had to stop putting the trips together. My friend Leo decided to pick up from there and organize the trips himself. Things went well enough until Leo’s health started to fail. He asked me to take over leading this last trip which he’d organized but then couldn’t lead. I did as I was asked.

I had to tell you all that so you’d understand what I’m about to tell you. Every time the bus would approach the Canadian border, Roland, then Leo, and now I would have to get on the bus P.A. speakers and tell the guys to behave themselves for the border agents. We always did. But this time, my first (and last) time, I made the announcement. We stopped. The border guards came aboard, but instead of just asking a few questions like they had always done and letting us pass, they put four armed agents on the bus and took me off and into the building, then down the hall and into an interrogation room where they grilled me rather rudely.

I figured they were just doing their job and politely answered their questions. They made it clear to me that I was personally responsible for everyone on that bus. They asked me if I knew and could vouch for them all. I told them I didn’t and couldn’t. Then they got angry with me. They asked me if I knew there were 22 reasons a person could be denied entry into the Dominion of Canada? I told them I did not. They asked me why I was leading the trip if I didn’t know the law. I told them it wasn’t my idea, I was filling-in for a friend who was ill.

Then they took me back to the bus where one of the agents who were checking all occupants of the bus found one who had “DUI” stamped on his driver’s license. That was one of the 22 reasons. They pulled him off the bus, they ordered the bus driver to open the luggage compartment and pull out all the luggage. They checked his bag right there on the spot. Then they gave it to him and told him to go back to the U.S. immediately. The last I saw of that man he was walking south. I was later told there are busses which can be taken home from the visitor’s building on the U.S. side. Eventually, our luggage was re-loaded and we were allowed to pass though.

So, with this as an experience, WHY would only 40 percent of Canadians want to throw out someone who entered their country illegally?

I just don’t get it.

--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading!


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