by Karl Gotthardt– Canadian Politics and Military Affairs Editor
According to a report by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, the United States is looking at building fences along stretches of he Canadian border in an apparent effort to keep out terrorists and other criminals. The United States has been preoccupied with the Canadian border since 9/11, when the unfounded allegations were made that some of the 9/11 attackers had originated in Canada. These allegations were unfounded since all 19 terrorists were in the U.S. legally and had arrived from the Middle East. The LAX Bomber, a terrorist that was stopped at the border, is the only publicly known terrorist to try to enter from Canada. Good intelligence stopped him in his tracks.
Canada and the U.S. are in the midst of a “Perimeter Defense Negotiation” a treaty that would align rules of entry and other immigration rules for both countries. The aim of the treaty is to cut down waiting times at the border, which would speed up the handling of goods moving across the border. The U.S. is Canada’s biggest trading partner. Canadians living near the border partake in cross-border shopping, which is a source of income for U.S. merchants south of the border. Snowbirds spend much of their time primarily in Florida and Arizona to escape the harsh Canadian winters.
The issue of stopping terrorists and criminals is bogus. Canada and the U.S. share intelligence and have tracked suspected terrorists in the past and co-operated in their capture. Canada has enacted a law similar to the Patriot act, which allows the incarceration of suspected terrorist with the issue of a “Security Certificate”. Smuggling of guns and drugs is a major problem, but those are traveling north across the border. Canada, of course does some drug smuggling to the U.S. as well, primarily in the form of cannabis from British Columbia on the West Coast.
To put it all into perspective, Canada, with its large land mass, has a population of 31 Million, about 10% of the U.S. population. So who should be more worried about criminals crossing across their border. In fact many criminals have crossed north of the border in order to avoid prosecution in the U.S. Deportation of those criminals always ends up in the courts, on the taxpayers dime.
Nonetheless Homeland Security, some in Congress and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service continues to concentrate on the Canadian border, while leaving the border with Mexico wide open. While southern border states are almost begging the Federal government to do something about protecting the border, the government is looking at the environmental effects of putting more manpower, technology and infrastructure along the Canadian border. The Feds have not ruled out the construction of fences. Next month the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency will hold public meetings in Washington and several border communities. Based on these meetings, the agency will decide which ideas to pursue.
Secretary of Homeland Security and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano last month noted the challenges of monitoring the vast, sparsely populated northern border region. She stressed manpower, but also a greater reliance on technology. This is ironic, since the same Napolitano has ignored the pleas of the state she used to govern, demonizing the current Governor, Jan Brewer, for her attempts to sort out the border and illegal alien problem. The Obama Administration even took the Arizona Immigration Law to the UN as a human rights violation. This is hypocracy at its best.
Since 9/11 the number of Border Patrol Agents has increased to 700% or 3800 agents along the border. It appears the beefing up of the border the Obama Administration has been talking about, has all been on the northern border.
As negotiations on a “Perimeter Defence Treaty” are ongoing, it seems ironic that the U.S. Federal government would spend more money on the Canadian border, let alone mulling a border fence. The thought is insulting to Canadians.