UPDATED: First, they came for that Galloway fellow ...

.. and now this:

KEENE, NH (July 24, 2009) – Jason Talley and Pete Eyre of the Motorhome Diaries were denied entry into Canada while attempting to cross the border yesterday. Border officials cited an incident that occurred in Mississippi (in May 2009) where the crew was arrested and detained without cause.

The Motorhome Diaries is the story of two friends – Jason and Pete – who took to the road in the spring of 2009 to search for freedom in the Americas, chronicling their adventures as they travel throughout the continent. Both are united by one goal – the desire to increase individual freedom and decrease the influence of government in their lives.

The original itinerary included visits to Montreal, Windsor, and Toronto to meet with liberty-minded Canadians and share their message of peace and freedom.

During the crew’s attempted border entry, border agents and the K-9 patrol searched their recreational vehicle. They were filming as they neared the checkpoint, but border agents deleted the video and informed them that if they continued to film, record, or take pictures they would be arrested. Various items were confiscated from the vehicle, including computers and literature.

Border agents justified the seizure by claiming they were looking for “pornography or heinous propaganda.” When asked for a definition of “heinous propaganda” or the applicable statute, the crew was told it was available online. However, agents could not produce the statue. […]

Well, technically, I guess in this case, “they” — the Canada Border Service Agency, in this case — didn’t exactly come for the Motorhome Diarists, since they’re the ones who showed up at the border. But other than that — well, that, and the absence of any outburst of self-backpattery by certain citizenship and immigration ministers for having saved Canadians from the scourge of dangerous speech —  this has an eerily Gallowayesque feel to it and seems — from what ITQ can see, at least — similarly senseless.

This particular vanful of freedom-lovin’ Americans was heading to the Liberty Summer Seminar, which takes place this weekend in lovely Orono, Ontario. The pair are listed as “special guests” on an itinerary that includes such potentially dangerous characters as Brian Lee Crowley, founder of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and the former Clifford Clark Visiting Economist at Finance, Conservative MP Scott Reid, Reason Magazine contributing editor Kerry Howley and assorted other libertarian-leaning economists, academics and public policy enthusiasts — not exactly the breeding ground for some sort of sinister crossborder posse comitatus. So why, then, were they stopped, searched and – if ITQ is reading this correctly – officially turned back from the border?

More importantly, does the aforementioned citizenship and immigration minister have any power to intervene in this case — as he refused to do for George Galloway, of course  — and find a way to help this van run the CBSA gauntlet in time for this weekend’s conference, so they can hang out with like-minded Canadians, and chat about how much happier we’d all be without public roads or meat inspection facilities, in peace?

Honestly, two wrongs don’t make a right, and it seems ridiculous to allow a couple of border guards to prevent what appear to be entirely harmless, if perhaps a little bit loopy libertarians from crossing the border —  just as ridiculous as the Galloway ban, in fact. Here’s hoping that the minister will do the right thing, and put an end to this silliness once and for all.

UPDATE: The dastardly duo have posted more details on what happened at the border, including this:

[…]7:45pm – Pete was instructed to accompany the same border bureaucrats to Interrogation Room #127.

There, it was explained to him by border bureaucrat #17225 that there are two reasons why they can deny people entry into Canada: due to goods that are prohibited/deemed hazardous and due to immigration reasons. Pete was told that early on the border bureaucrats believed they would deny him and Jason entry due to the former reason, but that after searching for Motorhome Diaries online and they found it was “not as heinous as we thought at the beginning.” Pete was told that “We [the border bureaucrats] were given reasons to go further [hold Pete and Jason and continue the investigation].” Border bureaucrat specifically mentioned the “flyer that talked about escape” [one of the topics covered by an Alliance for the Libertarian Left pamphlet] and the “anarchist signs.”

The border bureaucrat then explained that, per the immigration rationale, Pete was being detained due to 36.2.c of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which notes that entry can be denied due to “committing an act outside Canada that is an offence [sic] in the place where it was committed and that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an indictable offence [sic] under an Act of Parliament.”

The acts that were referenced came from a FBI print-out (ID #MS05956188) that noted that Pete had been charged in Jones County Mississippi for possession of beer in a dry county. On that document (which Pete was shown but not allowed to keep) that lone offense was listed as the charge. There was one statute cited. Yet in the remarks both this charge and “possession of firearms across state lines” was noted.

Pete pointed out that there was only one statute listed, which obviously wasn’t applicable to two charges, underscoring his point that he was only charged with one thing – the possession of beer in a dry county. Pete further explained that, while deputies of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department had threatened to involve the ATF in the case due to his firearms but that he was never charged for them, and that he had could prove as much by getting the Appearance Bond out of MARV that he received when he was released from the Jones County Adult Detention Facility. Border bureaucrat #17225 responded that she was going by what the FBI printout noted. Pete encouraged her to call the Jones County Adult Detention Facility (who’s number was listed on the sheet) but #17225 declined. Pete noted that he had only been charged, not convicted and noted that the burden was on the State to prove him guilty. He was told “No. The burden for this is on your shoulders.”

Pete was told that if he is found guilty in Jones County then after five years pass after the end of that sentence he can petition the consulate for permission to enter Canada or he could wait ten years (if it’s the only accusation during those ten years) and it would be expunged. The border bureaucrat #17225 noted that in her previous conversation with Jason she had been told that some friends of friends knew some people in Canadian government and that if and when Pete and Jason attempted to cross the border again it would help their chances to have an invitation from such people. Pete was also told that if he and Jason had a different image –  “If you wore a tie” – they likely wouldn’t’ have been questioned/investigated so heavily. […]

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