Further to this post,
Canadian border targeted…
…by new US Homeland Security secretary…
…a strongly approving editorial in the (very) conservative Washington Times:
The soft underbelly up north [surely the “upperbelly” then?]
The piece does contain a helpful counterbalance in its conclusion, but ends tough:
…Mrs. Napolitano will have to walk a tightrope between increasing security without further disrupting and delaying the substantial trade across the border.
Nonetheless, she scores high marks for putting this much-neglected and vital aspect of American security at the top of her agenda.
It is therefore not surprising that NAFTA, the pioneer U.S.-style trade agreement, also became the first FTA to be officially expanded into security. The goals are twofold: to apply the Bush counterterrorism model throughout North America and bring Canadian and Mexican national security apparatus under closer U.S. control and surveillance, and to protect investment and business throughout the region…
…According to information compiled by Patrick Grady, an Ottawa economist specializing in national security issues as they affect business and government policies, Canadian exports of goods, other than energy and forest products, have declined by about 12 per cent, and exports of services by about eight per cent, due to delays at the American border.
Mr. Grady told me in a telephone interview that the vastly increased number of American Customs and Border Patrol agents may account for many of the delays. There were 340 American agents on the Canadian border before 9-11, he said, and 1,120-odd last spring.
All these additional agents, he said, represent more controls and more delays. His website, global-economics.ca, offers information that, frankly, astonished me. I did not realize, for instance, that it took seven years for Canadian travel to the United States to return to pre-9-11 levels, or that American travel to Canada has dropped some 40 per cent.
But perhaps the most touchy subject in the Canada-U.S. border file is immigration. There were congressional hearings in the 1990s which many Canadians, including myself, found insulting. What business was it of American lawmakers to question who is admitted to Canada?
After 9-11, American concerns grew and spilled into the open when terrorists carrying explosives were caught entering the United States from Canada.
What is not talked about in public to this day is that Americans are alarmed at the 300,000-odd recent immigrants in Canada from what Mr. Grady calls “countries with terrorist problems.”..