US Canada border deal fuels concerns in Canada
Armed U.S. police officers will for the first time be allowed to operate in Canada along with the RCMP as part of far-reaching changes in Canadian-American border operations to be unveiled next week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama.
The joint action plan will also break new ground by introducing exit-entry records that will track the movements of everyone who leaves the United States or Canada, with the information available to authorities in both countries.
In the months and years ahead, the deal between Ottawa and Washington will reshape security, travel and commercial arrangements at the border in a variety of profound ways — some of which have already raised alarms among Canadians. This secretly devised shake-up of border operations has sparked widespread concerns.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder revealed last fall that the deal will authorize Canada and the U.S. to designate officers who can take part in police investigations on both sides of the border.
“It’s contemptuous of Canadian citizenry to unveil a program in which we’ve had essentially no input,” said Micheal Vonn, policy director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.
“This process has really been conducted behind closed doors. We’ve had no white papers, no reports — nothing that we could point to to say, ‘Here are the pros and cons, here are the drawbacks, here are the things we are considering,’ ” she said.