Tuesday, October 12, 2010

U.S. Wants to Share Border Stations

(Montreal Gazette – David Johnston)

American reaction wasn’t favourable when the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) said in August that it was going to close down operations next spring at three land-border crossings with the U. S, including two south of Montreal. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security didn’t like the prospect of one-way border crossings, where people can get into the U.S., but not into Canada.

Complicating the issue was the fact that at two of the three border stations, including one of the two south of Montreal, the corresponding American stations had been undergoing expensive modernization. Ever since the CBSA announcement, those upgrades have been put on hold and the U.S. has asked Canada to consider sharing the two U.S. facilities being upgraded.

That request, though, has sparked a more wide-ranging discussion between the two countries about the future of separate border stations at small crossings in general. [...] Last month, Raphael Lemaitre, an official with the Department of Homeland Security, told The Gazette the U.S. wanted “to explore alternatives with CBSA to enable the continued facilitation of two-way traffic.” Those exploratory talks have now begun, said Sabrina Mehes, a CBSA official. In fact, she said, the future of “all smaller crossings” between the two countries are up for talks. Read more here.