Residents Of A Canadian Island Complain That American Authorities Are Opening Their Mail

Campobello Island can only be reached by driving through Maine in the winter months.

a canada post mailbox
Tomj / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0 Cropped and Resized)

Campobello Island can only be reached by driving through Maine in the winter months.

Residents of a Canadian island are complaining that the U.S. government is opening all of their mail, Fox News reports. Officials are apparently looking for marijuana.

Campobello Island sits in the Bay of Fundy, and like so many islands in northern latitudes, it’s difficult to reach in the winter. Indeed, for the 900 or so people who call the island home, the only way to the Canadian mainland, at least in the less-hospitable months, involves driving through Maine, which means two border crossings each way.

The residents there are used to it, and generally don’t complain. But now there’s a new wrinkle: any mail going to or from the island via road must cross through the U.S. That was never a problem for the island’s residents — that is, until Canada legalized recreational marijuana. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are now checking every Canada Post truck going to or from the island through Maine, looking for pot. That means that nearly every piece of mail the islanders send or receive is opened first.

CPB spokesperson Michael McCarthy says that his agency and its employees are fully within their legal rights to do so.

“CBP Officers possess broad search authority to ensure the safety and admissibility of all goods entering the United States. This includes the ability to inspect and search all persons, baggage and merchandise arriving in — or transiting through — the United States,” he said.

campobello island's lighthouse
  Skeezix1000 / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Islanders, such as resident Justin Tinker, don’t see it that way.

“Expectations of privacy that the rest of Canada has just don’t exist on Campobello,” he said.

Resident Dale Calder wondered aloud what other Canadians would think if the U.S. government opened all of their mail.

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“It’s a feeling of violation, I guess… I’d like to suggest that [residents of other cities in New Brunswick] think about the packages that they get in the mail today, and if it’s been opened by another country’s customs agency to determine whether they’re entitled to receive that package,” he said.

Solutions don’t appear to be forthcoming any time soon, however. Getting a ferry up and running that could operate year-round would likely cost millions per year. What’s more, there’s no hope of getting it going before the next spring thaw, which is months away.

Here in the States, some scofflaws have been known to send mail from states where it’s legal to states where it’s not legal. As reported by The Inquisitr, postal inspectors, lacking any real direction on what to do about it, have been known to just let it sit in offices and storerooms until told what to do otherwise.