Canadians, Your documents please

privacy       2003-02-06 
North Americans travelling for the first time in European countries are often puzzled when asked to check their passports at the hotel desk. They are accustomed to the easygoing freedom of movement and travel in Canada and the United States. They are not used to the idea of identity papers, keeping track of foreign visitors, or exit controls. Such practices recall scenes from old Second World War movies where security police at railway stations or in trains menacingly ask the anxious traveller: "Your documents please." Well, Canadians travelling to the United States will soon be getting used to that unfamiliar demand for documents. The days of "easy come, easy go" border crossings are over.