Campobello Island is a Canadian island which only has ferry service three months a year. Luckily, it has a bridge, but not to Canada, and the Canadian postal service finds it more economical to drive through about 45 minutes of America than to expand ferry service or run a mail boat.
This became an issue recently, when the Customs and Border Protection office in Calais started opening and searching Campbello Island’s mail, giving no explanation other than “we have the authority.”
There must be an explanation, though. I spent a couple of hours trying to guess what it might be:
1. I can’t find the episode description at the moment, but I swear I saw a Canadian TV show once about a brother and sister suffocating while trying to mail themselves across the US-Canadian border. Maybe someone at CBP saw that episode, too. Lives may be at stake!
2. Someone in Canada Post is using the Campobello Island route to smuggle bioweapons into the United States (dropping them off somewhere between Calais and Lubec), and CBP doesn’t want to tell the Canadian government directly, for some reason.
3. The United States secretly intends to annex Campobello Island, and if they annoy its current Canadian residents enough, it might become uninhabited and make the conquest look more palatable to the international community.
4. With a name like “camp o’ bello,” it must be a terrorist training center, right?
5. A disaffected CBP employee wants to make the federal government look bad, and highlighting the feds’ already-existing badness wasn’t enough for them.
6. For budget reasons, the Calais CBP office had to use up its supply of mail-inspection tape by the end of the calendar year.
7. For the lulz.
8. Word just reached the Calais CBP office that Trump wanted to start a trade war with Canada last year, and mail is sorta like trade, right?
9. A CBP agent lost a bet. If it had gone the other way, one of his coworkers would be searching Presque Isle’s mail.
10. The conspiracy to desensitize Americans to omnipresent, overbearing surveillance will, on occasion, affect some non-Americans.
11. If they weren’t searching that mail, they wouldn’t look busy, and there’s a theoretical possibilities that one of their bosses might decide to eliminate some positions.