Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Drawing a Tight Ring Around North America

(Martin Collacott — Calgary Herald)

Among the issues discussed by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama on Thursday were border security and the effect a tightening of our common border can have on trade for both countries. At their joint press conference, Harper stated unequivocally the Canadian government regarded any threat against the U. S. as a threat against Canada.

While such words will be encouraging to the Americans that we take seriously their concerns about security and the risk of terrorist attacks, in concrete terms what has to be done on our part to satisfy the Americans that they have no need to be unduly concerned about security threats from our side of the border?

Assessing U. S. measures taken to increase border security, it should be recognized that not all hurt legitimate movement of goods and people. Indeed, some enhance border security for both countries. The use of drone surveillance aircraft, for example, makes good sense: Both countries gain from monitoring possible illegal crossings along a border that is both long, and sparsely populated.

We have more reason to be concerned about measures that slow down cross-border traffic through official border crossings. This has already had a significant impact on trade, which, in relative terms, is much more detrimental to the Canadian economy than to that of the U. S. Read more here.