A development of the recent meeting of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama is that Canada will share with the US information on Canadians traveling overland to the states. The U.S. will reciprocate.
|Thomas Walkom, writing in the Toronto Star, notes that in the U.S., national security is a key issue and Canada is considered suspect. He points out that Obama's first homeland security chief, Janet Napolitano, insisted that the 9/11 attackers came through Canada, even though evidence seems to contradict this. The announcement of the agreement was made not by Trudeau but by Obama.|
Ottawa wants what it calls a thin border to allow easy passage of people and goods back and forth. As evidenced by last week’s announcement, it is willing to sacrifice some of the privacy of its citizenry in return for this.Walkom worries that the result will be a still difficult border to cross while there will be an increased likelihood more Canadians will end up on a US security list. However, pre-clearance processes should make crossing quicker for many.Washington, however, wants a thick border that would make it harder for terrorists to enter the U.S.So while it is happy to receive information from Ottawa and even give back some in return, it is not willing to substantially relax its guard.
"The most important thing is an expansion in pre-clearance, This is the ability to clear American customs and immigration procedures before you leave Canada, so that once you arrive in the United States … there's no further checking of passports and so forth."There is already preclearance at a number of Canadian airports including at Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Trudeau and Obma agreed to add more members to the list. The government is also examining pre-clearance for train routes.
"(Canadian and American no-fly lists) are not up until this point shared with each other," he said. "This arrangement will make it possible for that to happen." Under the new agreement, Canada will also work with the U.S. to develop a better way of "getting people off the list if they ought not to be there," Goodale said. "We need an effective redress system," he said.The border tracking system was originally promised back in 2001 as part of the perimeter security pact. There is to be a working group set up within 60 days to work out errors of identity on the no-fly lists of the two countries.