Wall of Pucks? Canadians Say 'Take Off Eh' to Border Block Plan

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A car carrier crosses the Peace Bridge over the Niagara River on the U.S.-Canada border at Buffalo, New York. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol, monitors the 5,525 mile long border, including Alaska, forming the longest international border between two countries in the world.

Photographer: John Moore/Getty Images
  • Canadians react to poll showing 41% of Americans support wall
  • Wall plan might impede flow of hockey players, maple syrup

The last time folks from Canada invaded the U.S., they burned down the White House. 

No wonder Americans still hold a grudge against the Great White North, two centuries after the War of 1812.

Four in 10 Americans now agree erecting a wall -- the Great White Wall? -- along the 5,500-mile (8,850 kilometer) border between the otherwise friendly nations is a good idea, according to the latest Bloomberg Politics poll.

The notion has some Canadians considering an asset swap if the two countries agree to such a hostile separation.

“While you’re at it you should ship the Statue of Liberty to Canada too because you’re no longer welcoming the huddled masses,” said Thomas Caldwell, chairman of Caldwell Securities Ltd. in Toronto, tongue firmly in cheek. His firm manages about C$1 billion ($760 million). “I’m in favor of putting up a wall. There’s not a horde of Canadians rushing to get into America let me tell you.”

Of the 1,001 U.S. adults polled by phone from Sept. 18 to 21, 41 percent said if a wall is built along the Mexico-U.S. border, one should be built along the Canadian one as well, including 20 percent who strongly agree with the notion. Almost half of Americans in the southern states agree with the need for a wall.

Where is it?

“They don’t even know where Canada is!” said David Cockfield, a fund manager at Northland Wealth Management in Toronto. “Seriously, what we should do is improve our relations with Cuba so all the snowbirds fly down there instead of to Florida.”

Gord Brown, a member of parliament for the ruling Conservative Party near the New York State border in Ontario, said the logistics of even building such a wall are mind-boggling.

“How do they plan on building a wall on the water?” Brown said. “I can see the United States from my home (across the river). I wonder how that engineering marvel of that wall would come about.”

For some Canadians, the wall could be made of hockey pucks -- as long as they don’t have to pay for it. 

Map Search

“We’re certainly not going to pay half the cost of building that wall,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets in Toronto, who studied across the border at Harvard University. "Are you also putting up a wall from the Yukon to Alaska? Somebody needs to look at a map."

The wall might have unintended consequences. Will Andrew Wiggins, the first pick in the National Basketball Association draft last year for the Minnesota Timberwolves, stay at his hometown near Toronto? Will maple syrup stop flowing south from Quebec to U.S. pancake houses? What about all that oil -- Canada is the biggest supplier to the U.S. after all. 

Will they leave a door open along the wall for hockey players to go south or will they hop over the wall, like the boards at the hockey rink in Madison Square Garden? Will actor Donald Sutherland, already miffed that he can’t vote in his native land in the Oct. 19 election, move back? Will he bring rocker Neil Young with him?

The idea of building a wall along the border between Canada and the U.S., the world’s longest continuous straight international border according to the bilateral International Boundary Commission, entered the political debate after failed Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker from Wisconsin said the idea was worth additional study.

Trump Love

While Republican front-runner Donald Trump has pledged to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border, he told a reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Sept. 9 he wouldn’t do the same to Canada.

“I love Canada,” Trump said.

And while the residential status of famous Canadians who live in the U.S. such as singer Celine Dion and hockey player Wayne Gretzky would be up in the air, one Stratford, Ontario native -- Justin Bieber -- can probably stay right where he is, Cockfield said.

"They can have him," he said with a laugh.

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