Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Canada-US border : thicker but fuzzier

For all the wringing of hands in the national press about how US security concerns are resulting in a "thicker Canada-US border", scant attention is paid to how that border is also getting blurrier, unless to repeat government assurances that it is not.

Case in point is yesterday's announcement of the Shiprider program, signed Monday by Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano - an agreement "designed to increase border security by allowing the RCMP and the U.S. Coast Guard to team up and ride in each others' vessels during border patrols."

Van Loan said the pact shouldn't be viewed as Americans encroaching on the jurisdiction of Canada because it's a joint effort between both countries.
And he stressed that security and trade between the two countries can be mutually beneficial.
"Because of the integration of our North American economies ... effective management of the border is essential to the health of both of our countries' economies," said Van Loan.

According to former diplomat Paul Frazer, Canadians shouldn't be alarmed by the prospect of foreign officers policing Canada's waters.
"It's not a one way kind of operation," he told CTV's Power Play from Washington on
Frazer stressed that the new plan is a quid-pro-quo deal for Canada.
"You will have Canadian authorities aboard American boats, going into American waters, and the reverse coming into Canadian waters."

Right. That sounds fair : the flea will ride on the elephant and then the elephant will ride on the flea.
A couple of points not covered by our enthusiastic media but clearly stated in the agreement :

COMMITTED to the prevention, detection, suppression, investigation, and prosecution of any criminal offence or violation of law related to border enforcement including, but not limited to, the illicit drug trade, migrant smuggling, trafficking of firearms, the smuggling of counterfeit goods and money, and terrorism

based on joint Canada-United States threat and risk assessment and coordinated with existing cooperative cross-border policing programs and activities.

That seems rather ... broad, considering that any "integrated cross-border maritime law enforcement operation" may also continue "on land" and include "aerial support".

But where it gets weird is the section called Information Sharing.
Info is not to be "further shared" with "a non-participating government agency or a foreign country" without "the consent of the participating agency sharing the information" ... "unless the use or further sharing is required by its domestic laws" or there are "exigent circumstances".

Exigent circumstances.

All of which is merely fleshing out the details of last year's Canada-US pact allowing cross-border military activity , following the disclosure two years earlier that 30% of FBI agents operating in Canada do so without the knowledge or approval of the Canadian government.

Well now we have yet another agreement to legalize the decline of Canadian sovereignty.


West End Bob said...

Well now we have yet another agreement to legalize the decline of Canadian sovereignty.You got it, Alison.

Gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, huh ? ? ? ?

Alison said...

Yes, I am quite overcome

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