Sunday, May 09, 2010

Canadian and United States Border!

Should U.S. police have more powers to make arrests on Canadian soil?
by Community Team
Posted: July 11, 2012
Certain armed police officers from the U.S. can now cross the border into Canada to make arrests under The Integrated Cross Border Law Enforcement Operations Act.
Left: An RCMP Constable chats with a U.S Coast Guard. The two forces can now cross the Canada/U.S. border water-based operations. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)
Currently only small boat crews made up of Canadian and U.S. officers, who are specially designated and trained for cross-border policing, can go back and forth across the maritime borders.
The law mostly governs water-based operations, but under the "hot pursuit" exception American officers can come onto Canadian soil in extreme situations.
"If a person on a boat is suspected of committing a serious offence and now are trying to get away and they hit shore, [U.S. officers] are allowed to go on shore and pursue in those circumstances," said RCMP Supt. Warren Coons, director of the Integrated Border Enforcement Teams.
The initial phase was included in the controversial omnibus budget bill last month. Supporters say the change was necessary to prevent suspected drug traffickers and smugglers from evading arrest.
The government is now working out the next phase of the plan, a land-based version of integrated policing.
So far, the government has revealed few details, but officials say consultations are continuing and pilot projects could start in the fall.
Critics are alarmed, arguing that the deal jeopardizes Canadian sovereignty and potentially compromises the personal privacy of individual Canadians.
Stuart Trew, a spokesman for the Council of Canadians, said the act in its current form is already a "pretty serious compromise of sovereignty when it comes to policing and security."
"Are we just going to expect down the road when they do expand this program ... [that] it just becomes normal to expect armed American agents on Canadian territory?" Trew said.
"How do you define a border operation? How far inland does it go? These are things that need to be dealt with in an open way. Instead they seem to be negotiating through mostly closed-door talks with U.S. officials."
How do you feel about cross-border policing? Are you comfortable with the first, mainly water-based phase of the plan?
What concerns, if any, do you have about a land-based extension?
Canada-U.S. border deal marks 'significant step'
Harper, Obama agree to increase co-operation on security and reduce trade barriers
By Laura Payton, CBC News
Posted: Dec 7, 2011
A new perimeter security and trade agreement between Canada and the U.S. aims to make everything from travel to cross-border business easier, co-ordinating regulations to cut red tape that the government estimates costs the economy $16 billion a year.
But in exchange for changes Prime Minister Stephen Harper hopes will smooth trade to Canada's biggest and most important partner, officials have negotiated information-sharing to ease Americans’ security concerns.
The government argues Canada loses no sovereignty in the agreement: both countries retain the power to allow people and products into and out of the country.
It will take months before people see the results of the agreement, but pilot projects will start as soon as April 2012.
"These agreements represent the most significant step forward in Canada-U.S. co-operation since the North American Free Trade Agreement," Harper said in a statement Wednesday before a press conference in Washington, D.C. with U.S. President Barack Obama to announce the new "action plan."
Obama told reporters Canada is key to his plan to grow the U.S. economy, and he implored Canadians to travel to America and spend money there. And he noted the border security deal strikes a better balance by dealing with regulations that didn't need to be duplicated.
Harper said the two countries are already co-operating closely on security and that will continue.
"Believe me, if we could replicate our relationship anywhere else in the world, the world would be a better place," he said.
The two leaders first announced the Beyond the Border talks in February, leading to months of consultations and discussions on trade and security culminating in Wednesday's announcement, which had been rumoured for weeks.
For travellers and consumers, the Beyond the Border deal should mean:
Not having to clear baggage at U.S. airports if it has already been cleared in Canada.
Border crossings should move faster, with commercial traffic getting more dedicated lanes and technology to move them through faster.
Wait times measured and posted at border crossings.
Consumer health products that have already been approved in the U.S. could get faster approval in Canada, with regulatory bodies sharing information and adjusting labelling standards to make it easier to market a product in both countries.
But it will also mean the two countries will share information about who enters and exits the country, and Canada will adopt two U.S. screening measures over the next four years: an electronic travel authorization for visitors who don't need visas to travel to Canada, and a system to deny boarding to inadmissible passengers before they get on a plane.
Canada and the U.S. will also share information about people from other countries — not Canadian or U.S. citizens — denied boarding or entry because of national security concerns.
Officials say it's not yet clear exactly what information will be shared about Canadian and U.S. citizens when they cross the shared border. Currently, no information is shared upon entry or exit.
For business, the plan should eventually mean faster shipment of goods, with less paperwork for low-risk travellers and pre-clearance away from the border. The agreement will expand programs that speed up border crossings for frequent and trusted traders. Cargo will be cleared at its first port of entry, operating under the philosophy of "cleared once, accepted twice," to reduce the time and expense of re-screening. And companies will have a "single window" to submit data required by government for shipments.
The cargo clearance pilot project will start in Montreal and Prince Rupert, B.C., by 2013.
Stakeholders promise to keep up pressure
Perrin Beatty, head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and a cabinet minister in Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative government, said he wishes Canada hadn't gone through 10 years of a thickening border, but that this is a good deal for Canadians.
Beatty said he's surprised at how measurable the benchmarks are, with the report including clear goals and dates by which they should be in place.
"Pressure from business and from government to move ahead will only grow ... I don't see the appetite for this being rolled back."
Left: An agent of the Canada Border Services Agency and a trained sniffer dog inspect the carriage of a tractor trailer vehicle entering Canada. An 'action plan' touted by the Canada and U.S. Wednesday aims to reduce duplication of screening at the border. Eric Foss/CBC
Jayson Myers, head of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, says he's confident both governments will find money in their budgets for the border technology and infrastructure improvements the action plan mentions. He says it's key that there be money for them in the next Canadian budget, and says he expects to see some.
"It is a priority and adequate resources will be made available for those investments," he said.
But interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae says there isn't as much in the agreement as it first appears.
"It's a bunch of pilot projects, it talks about improving co-operation with respect to certain things, but frankly I don't see the kind of changes that are going to be necessary to ensure that we continue to have strong, unharassed access to the U.S. market," Rae said.
Joint investigations to target security threats
Under the agreement, border and law enforcement efforts will be more integrated, starting with a radio system that will work on both sides of the border, all the way up to integrated criminal and intelligence investigations. The two countries will also conduct joint investigations to target security threats and how to prevent them, including dealing with violent extremism.
One of the most talked about aspects of the agreement is the joint entry-exit system at the land border. Officials plan to share biographical information on citizens, permanent residents and others when they enter one country and thereby exit the other. The pilot project is set to start by Sept. 30, 2012, at anywhere between two to four border crossings. The full program is to be in place by June 30, 2014.
Critics, including Canada’s privacy commissioner, have said any information that’s shared must be safeguarded according to Canadian law.
Rae says he's still trying to decipher what the deal could mean for privacy.
"Our police and others [already] co-operate through Interpol and through relations with the American forces to deal with these questions all the time, so this is much less of a radical change than is being described by the prime minister."
There are also plans to share biometric information of third-country nationals by 2014 to reduce identity fraud, enhance screening and support "other enforcement actions," according to the action plan that sets out the details of the agreement.
The plan also commits the two countries:
To set up emergency management plans, with a focus on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives events, and prepare for major health security threats.
To plan guidelines on who and what gets to cross the border first following major emergencies like terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
To co-ordinate emergency communications plans.
To develop programs to strengthen cross-border critical infrastructure.
Co-ordinating regulations
It’s difficult to measure exactly how much duplicated inspections, slow border crossings and un-aligned regulations cost, but Canadian officials estimate it could be as much as $16 billion a year, or one per cent of GDP.
Canadian and U.S. officials picked out 29 points where the two countries can bring their rules closer together, in health and personal care products, agriculture and food, transportation and the environment. That could mean more products, including therapeutic and over-the-counter treatments, available in Canada because of easier approvals.
Officials are hoping to allow companies to submit electronically one application for product approval with Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as to have a common monograph for over-the-counter drugs, and to rely on each other's inspections of drug production facilities.
The Canada-U.S. border: by the numbers
CBC News
Posted: Dec 7, 2011
Canada and the United States not only have the world's longest shared border, they enjoy the world's largest bi-lateral trading agreement. The following figures demonstrate the extent of this special relationship.
8,891 — Kilometres the Canada-U.S. border stretches across land and water
2,477 — Kilometres of border shared with Alaska alone
119 — Number of border crossings
$501 billion CDN — Total Canada-U.S. trade (2010)
More than $1 billion CDN — Amount of daily Canada-U.S. trade (2010)
73 per cent — Share of total exports from Canada going to the U.S. alone (2009)
63 per cent — Share of total imports to Canada coming from U.S. Alone (2009)
Almost $500 million US — The amount of trade that passes daily along the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ont. and Detroit, the busiest border crossing in North America
28,814 — Number of trucks that cross the border daily (2010)
140,728 — Number of cars and other vehicles that cross the border daily (2010)
Roughly 300,000 — Number of people that cross the Canada-U.S. border per day
39,254,000 — Trips by Canadians to the U.S. in 2009
20,213,500 — Trips by Americans to Canada in 2010
Over 15,700,000 — Number of people who flew on scheduled air services between Canada and the U.S. in 2010
57 per cent — Share of Canadian trips to the U.S. that were same-day car trips (September 2011)
17,977,000 — Number of overnight trips by Canadians to the U.S. (2009)
11,667,000 — Overnight trips by Americans to Canada (2009)
21,277,000 — Same-day trips by Canadians to the U.S. (2009)
8,858,000 — Same-day trips by Americans to Canada (2009)
New York — The state that received the most visits by Canadians, as well as the state with the highest number of visitors to Canada (2009)
Florida — The state where Canadians spent the most number of nights: 47,448,000 (2009)
$12,667,000,000 — Amount Canadian travellers spent in the U.S. (2009)
$6,087,000,000 — Amount American travellers spent in Canada (2009)
$72 — Average spending per person per same-day trip by Canadian visitors to the U.S., 2009
$705 — Average spending per person per overnight trip by Canadian visitors to the U.S., 2009
$522 — Average spending per person per overnight trip by U.S. visitors to Canada, 2009
8 — Average length in nights of a trip to the U.S. by a Canadian visitor staying at least one night
4 — Average length in nights of a trip to Canada by an American visitor staying at least one night
Couple Arrested At U.S. Border For Asking Questions
Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
In another perfect illustration of why the U.S. tourist industry is in free fall, audio has emerged of a Canadian couple who were interrogated and arrested by immigration officials after they dared to inquire as to why they were being asked such pointless and invasive questions.
Attempting to enter the U.S. at the Niagara Falls border, the couple were asked where they were going, to which they responded the Niagara Falls shopping mall. When the immigration official bizarrely demanded to know what shops they were planning to visit, the situation quickly worsened.
After daring to ask why they were being bombarded with such ridiculous questions, they were told to exit their car and are taken inside for further interrogation by another official. When the Canadian man rhetorically asks, “what are you gonna do, shoot me” the officials claim he is threatening them before he is arrested.
Officials claim the man “assaulted” them because he backed away for a moment when being arrested. The officials claim that their victims are required to submit to whatever order they give no matter how ridiculous.
To underscore the ludicrous justifications officials use for harassing people, the officer claims he personally stops three terrorists a day entering the United States from Canada. One wonders whether he characterizes a “terrorist” as someone who doesn’t instantly obey his every inane command.
Despite his pleas, the man and his wife are thrown in jail, at which point the audio ends.
Let us not forget that the United States does not stand alone in employing semi-retarded jackbooted goons who specialize in harassing innocent people to enforce security at its borders.
Before arriving in Ottawa to cover the 2006 Bilderberg conference, Alex Jones and his team were detained for 15 hours and put through a nightmare of interrogation, accusations and threats of arrest by Canadian immigration officials. Customs openly told Jones as soon as they brought him into custody that the Bilderberg Group was aware of his arrival and that this was the reason for his detainment. All three members of the team were instantly detained despite going through different immigration desks.