As some of you know, I lived in Vermont when I was younger. A lot younger. When I lived in Vermont it wasn’t uncommon to make day trips, and weekend trips to Quebec. When my grandfather lived in Derby Line we would go for Chinese in Magog Quebec. Heck, when my younger brother was in 4th grade they went on a field trip to the Granby Zoo. (I’ve not been there but it’s supposed to be a very good zoo.) And speaking of Derby Line it is best known for the city library that it shares with Stanstead, that was intentionally built on the border between the two countries.
My grandfather’s father had been born in Quebec. His grandfather or great grand father had been a loyalist who moved to Canada following the American Revolution. So, the recent vogue of people threatening to move to Canada if their political desires aren’t met kind of amuses me. Perhaps it shouldn’t. The practicality of bouncing back and forth across the border isn’t what it once was. Think for a moment about the impossibility of getting passports together for 35 4th graders plus adult chaperones to go on a field trip to a zoo in this paranoid post 9/11 world.
The idea of a border here has always been “porous”. It’s not just my family, people have questioned just where Chester A Arthur 21st President of the United States was born relative to the border for more than 125 years now. And for better or worse, all the passport controls can’t keep people from walking out of Canada. In fact, Vermont even has a trail that leads straight to the border that inspired the building of the Appalachian Trail, and that’s to say nothing of the really wild areas you’ll find along the border with Maine or between Washington or Montana and the western Provinces.
So just who needs a wall anyway?