Canadian International Council

Canadian International Council

February 15, 2009 11:01 ET

A More Comprehensive Approach to Canada-U.S. Border Security Required

Effective responses can manage security challenges while fostering economic prosperity for both countries

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 15, 2009) - Officials and politicians on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border must seize the opportunity the new Obama administration affords them to consider border security and economic issues in tandem, says Geoffrey Hale in a new paper released today by the Canadian International Council (CIC).

Since 2001, border management in the United States has been dominated by security and law enforcement perspectives, but the author argues for a much broader review of border management policies to ensure Canadian and American administrations optimize cross-border collaboration, while containing and reducing identified risks to their citizens and pursuing policies that contribute to their broader economic well-being and security.

"Neither government can afford a 'business or politics as usual' approach if we are to overcome the economic challenges facing both our countries," writes Dr. Hale, CIC research associate and associate professor in the University of Lethbridge's Department of Political Science. "Business groups on both sides of the border have critiqued existing policies and emphasized that failure to consider border security and facilitation issues is likely to result in sub-optimal security and economic outcomes."

With the upcoming visit by President Obama to Canada, the author suggests that it is vital for Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper to have a clear agenda to link the physical and economic security of Canadians.

"The effective management of the Canada-U.S. border is one of the most significant concerns faced by the government of Canada, but it's only one of many challenges facing the new U.S. administration," says Dr. Hale. "Failure to successfully address this situation increases the likelihood that we will end up with the worst of both worlds - an overstretched system of border security and worsening economic outcomes in both countries."

In his paper, Dr. Hale further argues Canadians and Americans must jointly:

1. Show effective leadership to drive necessary investments in new infrastructure and technologies and strengthen cooperation among departmental agencies and orders of government.

2. Further ensure full and joint capacity-building for the processing of goods and persons, especially at border crossings that operate on a 24/7 basis.

3. Immediately improve the coordination of trusted shipper programs to better harmonize entry requirements, reduce duplication of services and implement additional land pre-clearance projects.

Dr. Hale concludes that a cooperative approach to border security, management and facilitation that involves a collaborative effort between the two governments, as well as the private sector, border communities and civil society organizations in Canada and the U.S., is the best guarantee of sustainable borders. It is this approach that will produce effective physical security, economic viability, adaptability to changing global conditions and social cohesion.

Dr. Hale is one of four respected academics chosen earlier this year by the CIC to contribute new perspectives in vital areas of Canadian foreign policy.

The Canadian International Council (CIC) is a non-partisan, nationwide council established to strengthen Canada's role in international affairs. With 13 branches nationwide, part of the CIIA national branch network, CIC seeks to advance research, discussion and debate on international issues by supporting a Canadian foreign policy network that crosses academic disciplines, policy areas, and economic sectors. The CIC features a privately funded fellowship program, supported by a network of issue-specific working groups. Carefully selected CIC fellows focus on important foreign policy issues, working out of universities and research institutions across the country. The CIC was founded in 2007 by Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of RIM (Research In Motion).

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