Canada Slams Door in Chicago Reporter's Face

'No Games Chicago' organizer denied entry

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Martin Macias can't go to Canada.

    Canada is rarely mentioned as an oppressive country that limits freedom of expression and press.

    Yet that's exactly what Martin Macias says happened to him when he arrived at the Vancouver airport in Canada Saturday afternoon.

    The 20-year-old student, a Chicago-based independent journalist and outspoken activist who was heavily involved with No Games Chicago, a group that opposed the city's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, and his friend Bob Quellos traveled to Vancouver to report on and attend the protests leading up to the Games this week.

    But Macias never left the Vancouver airport.

    He was detained upon arrival and "questioned aggressively for two hours," Macias told the Huffington Post.

    "They wanted to know what I was going to do in Vancouver, who I was meeting with, who organized the conference, and what they looked like," he said. "They took all my contact information and business cards of journalists and other people I was to connect with while in Vancouver."

    The story grows even more strange and disturbing.

    Macias' traveling companion, Bob Quellos, unaware that Macias had been detained, met with their mutual friend and local protest organizer, Chris Shaw. The two were wondering what happened to Macias when they received a bizarre phone call.

    "Someone called Chris' phone," Quellos said, according to CTV News. "It was a very brief conversation. They identified [themselves] as Martin."

    Whoever was on the other end was impersonating Macias and tried to arrange a meeting with Quellos and Shaw.

    "We gave him an intersection to meet us at," said Quellos. "I waited for two hours, but he didn't show up so we knew something was wrong."

    Back in the interrogation room, Macias says he was never allowed to call anyone and was stripped of his rights.

    "They told me I had no right to a lawyer. I went from frustrated and angry to scared. I didn't know what the laws were or how the laws had been changed for the Olympics," he told The Nation.

    The authorities ordered him out of Canada and back to the States, Macias said. But when they deported him, they told him he had to pay his own way.

    "They wanted me to buy a $1300 plane ticket back to Chicago. I said 'No way,'" said Macias.

    So instead, the officials put him on a plane to Seattle, where he is staying at a hotel, using his own pocket money until he figures out what to do next.

    For now Macias will just have to "Blame Canada, blame Canada, with all their hockey hubbabaloo."

    Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.