news from the north
October 16, 2019

Former President Barack Obama has one big executive endorsement.

While he's not wading into America's presidential election just yet, Obama tweeted Wednesday to reveal his position on Canada's upcoming federal election. He's hoping current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will keep his spot, which wouldn't have been surprising if Trudeau hadn't gotten into a blackface scandal just a month ago.

Trudeau's Liberal Party currently holds a majority in the Canadian parliament, but has seen its popularity fall since the last election in 2015. It's currently neck-and-neck with its rival Conservative Party, a toss-up that somehow wasn't hurt by the revelation that Trudeau wore blackface and brownface an unknown number of times. In fact, polling averages show the gap between the two parties has only narrowed since Trudeau apologized for painting his face and body as recently as 2001. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 5, 2018

Tensions are ratcheting up on the border — but not that border, the other one. U.S. border agents have intercepted at least 10 Canadian fishing boats off the coast of Maine in the past two weeks, going as far as to board the ships looking for potential undocumented migrants, The Toronto Star reports. "I guess the comment on the street would be: 'Typical American bullies,'" said Stephen Kelly, a former American diplomat who served in Canada. "They're not happy about it, and they don't think [the Americans] have any business doing this."

The U.S. border agents have targeted fishing boats off Machias Seal Island, a "gray area" east of Maine where Canadians and Americans fish for lobster side-by-side. "There's been a bit of a misunderstanding there somewhere," said Laurence Cook, the chairman of the advisory board for the lobster fishing area. "They're in international waters, so border patrol shouldn't be boarding Canadian vessels."

However, both countries claim jurisdiction over Machias Seal Island, which is occupied by two Canadian lightkeepers at its lighthouse. "The last thing Canada wants is for Donald Trump to seize on this as an example of U.S. sovereignty being challenged," Kelly explained. He added that transporting undocumented immigrants on the fishing boats is "possible" but that the Gulf of Maine is not typically a path for migrants.

"If anything," he said, "people are sneaking the other way." Jeva Lange

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