At Home: Canadian war vet cut off from visitors by border crackdown
An 85-year-old New Brunswick man has had access to his home cut off after a crackdown by U.S. border services.
Nikolaj Pedersen’s farm is in New Brunswick, but the road that carries friends, family, mail, and the newspaper to his door lies in Maine?and that means visitors have to briefly enter the U.S. before turning into his driveway.
For decades, U.S. authorities didn’t make a fuss, but a March crackdown has changed all that and made it impossible for family members to visit the senior unless they first check in with the U.S. customs office in Fairfield, Maine.
It’s a detour of nearly half an hour. Besides the extra time and aggravation, the demand by U.S. officials means that, when Pedersen’s visitors go down the driveway again, they’d be illegally re-entering Canada.
In effect, the senior citizen?and war veteran?is now cut off from his social network because of bureaucratic nitpicking. Clarence Clark, a neighbour who lives on the U.S. side of the road, told CBC News that a solution should be found.
?This is a very local thing right out here, especially with the Pedersens. They should know what their rights are and take into consideration this road, which goes in and out of Canada and in and out of the United States, and it ought to be enforced one way all the time.?
?They’re certainly people who can be trusted,? he added. ?I’ve known them for 45 years and they’re a trustworthy family.”
Mike Allen, an MP for Perth-Andover, has been trying to arrange a solution through discussions with a U.S. senator’s office. ?My heart goes out to Mr. Pedersen because [he’s] 85 years old, a veteran, certainly deserving of his services, so . . . we’ve got to find a way to accommodate this,” he said.
One solution would be to relocate Pedersen’s driveway, but to avoid touching on U.S. soil, the driveway would need to be a kilometre long.
For now, U.S. officials will let emergency vehicles cross the border to access the property, but any other visitors who fail to visit customs face a $5,000 fine.
In Foreign News: IOC relieved by San Francisco torch relay events
After recent protests in London and Paris disrupted the Olympic torch relay, International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials are relieved that the San Francisco leg of the trip passed with only minor disruptions.
Although large crowds of protestors had gathered, the relay route was first shortened, and then changed at the last minute, to avoid the protests. As well, a waterfront closing ceremony was cancelled and the flame was carried directly to a waiting plane.
Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, told reporters that although organizers were pleased with events in San Francisco, the relay was ?not the joyous party? they had planned on. In spite of the widespread?and violent?protests, Rogge and other IOC officials are determined to provide athletes with the ?games they deserve.?
?This is going to be their Games and they will enjoy it. Tell them not to lose faith in the Olympic movement. Tell them we will rebound from this crisis,? he said.
If necessary, IOC officials may suspend or cancel the remaining stops of the relay. Expected to cover six continents and 21 stops, the relay is headed to Buenos Aires next, then a dozen other countries, including India.
Though the protests have received a lot of attention, and the Olympic games have overcome political hurdles in the past, including boycotts, Rogge reiterated that Olympic venues, including the podium, were not the place for politics. The Olympic Charter states that clearly, forbidding any kind of ?demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda . . . in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.?