Tag Archive | International

Leamington, Ontario BIA under fire for anti-U.S. Top Ten List

In an effort to keep shoppers from flocking to the Detroit area this holiday season the Leamington, Ontario Business Improvement Area has released a list of “Top Ten Reasons to Shop in Uptown Leamington.”

That, in itself, is find and dandy. The issue I have with this list is that it plays on stereotypical fears and racist preconceptions of the Detroit area in an effort to keep shoppers in Leamington.

You can tell there was an attempt at humor in this list – poorly executed, but an attempt. However, I take issue with one item in particular.

Number 7 on the list states that “If you’re going to downtown Detroit and you speak English … good luck.” The humorous intent behind this statement is unclear. It would appear instead that this is one of two things: A reference to the high proportion of African Americans who live in downtown Detroit, or a reference to the general intelligence of Americans as a whole.

As someone who’s had an opportunity to spend a good deal of time in Leamington I can surmise that is the former option. In fact, last I’d checked Leamington still had a by-law on the books from the 1800’s that forbids a “negro” from entering the city limits after dark (Note: I have not been able to substantiate this recently, so it may have been rescinded in the past 5 years – way to go, Leamington).

The fact that the BIA resorts to this sterotyping is both typical and trite. Rural Ontarians near the U.S. border all seem to have “horror” stories of getting lost in Detroit, invariably on their drive down to Florida. It’s as if I-75 is some Bermuda Triangle for Canadians that sucks them to the worst parts of Cass Corridor.

None, however, seem to find the time to actually visit Detroit. If they are crossing the border they are either going south or heading to the the suburbs to shop. And yet these stereotypes persist.

I have had the great (mis)fortune of spending a substantial amount of time in Leamington (most weekends between the ages of 16-19), and I can see little of value in shopping there rather than Windsor, let alone Detroit. Last I recall, Leamington was knows for three things: The Worlds Largest Tomato, having a Heinz plant, and having a dock from which the ferry to Pelee Island leaves from for half the summer.

So Leamington, why don’t you spend less time discriminating against Detroit in particular and America as a whole, and more time actually figuring out how to develop an economy that is based on more than greenhouses and cheap imported Mexican labourers.

Here’s the list as reproduced in the Windsor Star:

  • 10. U.S. Customs won’t believe you’re picking up Aunt Elsie at the airport for the third time this week.
  • 9. Distance from parking space to Somerset Mall entrance further than your house to Erie and Talbot.
  • 8. If you’re going to downtown Detroit and you speak French … good luck.
  • 7. If you’re going to downtown Detroit and you speak English … good luck.
  • 6. U.S. stores sooner ship to Guam than Essex County.
  • 5. American cashiers keep asking what Helen Mirren is doing on the Canadian $20.
  • 4. No need to wear that new gown under your sweats coming back over the Ambassador.
  • 3. Being strip searched at customs should not be part of your holiday shopping tradition.
  • 2. With the gas and time you’ll save why risk it in a crazy foreign country.
  • 1. Uptown Leamington has over 200 unique shops, restaurants and other attractions, takes your loonies and has the best service in North America.
Note: Thanks to Sandy for the tip on this one.
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TASER UPDATE – Video of Robert Dziekanski Being Tasered at Vancouver Airport Released

Here’s an update to my previous post on taser deaths in Canada.

In the video we see a clearly distraught Robert Dizekanski moving furniture, throwing a computer, and apparently having a panic attack.  This goes on for a several minutes until the RCMP arrive.

Upon their arrival Dizekanski appears to calm down and seems to cooperate with their instructions.  When moved with his back against the counter we can not see Dizekanski’s hands, but there appears to be no movement on his part.

It is at this time that he is tasered for the first time.  This is quickly followed by two more shots from tasers.  At this point Dizekanski is screaming and convulsion on the ground.

You can view the video here.

CBC’s take is here.

The interesting thing is that the RCMP originally claimed to have tasered Dizekanski only twice.  In the video you can clearly hear three distinct cracks as each taser is fired, and possibly a fourth. 

So you have four large, armed RCMP members, once suspect who is not physically threatening the officers, and you’re telling me there is not a peaceful way to resolve this situation?

Here’s what I think happened.  It’s late, these RCMP officers would rather be someplace else, and they get a call about “some crazy foreign guy” at the airport.  They show up, this guy doesn’t speak any English (or French, because as federal employees I’m sure they’re bilingual, right?) and they think “Aw, another stupid immigrant invading our country – let’s waste him rather than take the time to solve this.”

Or maybe the four RCMP are technophiles and were so distraught at seeing a $100 monitor destroyed that they decided to balance the score-sheet with this guys life?

Basically, anyway you cut it the RCMP ends up looking like trigger happy sadists who were all too eager to try out their toys.

I mean, how much meaningful dialogue took place (even hand gestures would have helped!) in the 30 seconds it took the RCMP to pull their tasers?  Exactly – none.  So, after watching this video, I’d like to hear from all the defenders of the RCMP and tasers now.

Intolerance stirring in the Alps

So we are all familiar with Switzerland’s involvement (some proven, some alleged) with the Nazi regime during World War II. Now it appears the political and social winds in the Alps are again creating a climate of intolerance and racism.

The difference between World War II and now? It appears that the Swiss people are prepared to abandon their neutrality in favor of attacking immigrants with chainsaws.

While it appears Switzerland is mirroring an overall European shift towards xenophobia, this attack is a particularly chilling indicator of how far things have deterioriated for imigrants and visible minorities living in Switzerland, especially since there has been little notice taken on the international stage.

It will be interesting to see how the Swiss government responds, especially since passing a bill which authorizes police officers to use Tasers to force immigrants onto planes leaving Switzerland.

Immigrant attacked by chainsaw wielding men

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