Last weekend, some 1500 Americans, participating in the Port Huron ‘Float Down’ event, illegally crossed into Canadian waters, swept by strong winds and somewhat pickled senses. The annual event sees participants carelessly meandering the treacherous waters of the St. Clair River donning only air mattresses, plastic rafts or inner tubes, whilst consuming copious quantities of personality-enhancing beverages. A moveable ‘lazy river’ the likes of which no Disney water park could compete with.
What could possibly go wrong?
Floaters began their journey at Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron (Michigan), with the intent of floating 8 miles down river (which happens to be the international boundary between Michigan and Ontario), their destination, Chrysler Beach.
But winds in excess of 30 miles per hour had other plans.
Like refugees escaping their war-torn homeland, the flotsam and jetsam eventually made landfall on the banks of Sarnia Ontario, most plucked from the water by the Canadian Coast Guard and local Police. Reports indicated that some revelers were so fearful of having entered Canada illegally –and while intoxicated, (apparently no one thought ahead to pack their passport in a water-tight baggie), they tried to swim back to the Land of the Free.
And I don’t blame them.
We all know the horror stories of civil rights atrocities, illegal detention, and heavy-handed interrogation techniques used by Canada Border Services. Think Midnight Express. Don’t smuggle drugs out of Turkey, and don’t float into Canada on a Goodyear.
Commentary by Canadian Officials was polite and blunt. The event was unsanctioned. Fast moving currents, unpredictable weather, the sheer number of participants, and the fact that life jackets are considered impractical because they impede natural ‘beer-chugging arm movement’, posed a significant hazard for everyone involved.
Please don’t do it again.
Despite the chaos and media attention, no one was injured during the rescue mission, although several participants were upset the Coast Guard would not allow them to swim back to the U.S., pulling their floating beer coolers behind them. The water-logged illegals were bussed back to their homeland by Canadian authorities, some personally driven back by local Canucks who volunteered to help their American cousins.
A happy ending.
Or so it would seem.
While most dismissed this year’s theatrics as a freak, unexpected weather related anomaly, I’m not quite so naïve. In a year where a down-to-the-wire Presidential election is ramping up, one that has sparked fear and loathing in voters across the country, l fear something more sinister is afoot. Months prior, as the nominees began to gain traction, ample talk surfaced regarding those citizens who vowed to leave America if a certain Republican candidate becomes the country’s Chief Executive Officer. An arguably smaller contingent have not quite threatened to leave the US, but may keep that option open, should the Democrats prevail.
Which leaves a skeptical mind wondering.
Was this year’s event a mere coincidence? Fifteen hundred Americans, breaching the world’s largest unprotected border, at one time, in a euphoric display of libatious camaraderie?
Or was this a test run?
Ponder this. Should the unthinkable happen (and that depends on which hat – or should I say hairdo – you wear), who wants to wait months, years even, for paperwork, background checks and VISA’s to clear?
The band aid approach.
Quick and painless, if done properly. If caught, claim refugee status and figure out your next move over a plate of poutine, a Tim Hortons coffee, and Canadian Football. Not a bad go.
Sounds ingenious. Crafty. Something I would do.
Certainly worthy of consideration.
Call me suspicious, dubious even, but I call them as I see them.
Was there more to this year’s annual ‘Port Huron Float Down’? Could some participants have been staking out their future – via this lazy river of dreams?
You tell me America.
Until next time,