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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and United States President Barack Obama met to discuss joint strategies for dealing with issues involving border crossings, security, and trade for the two countries. An estimated 1.6 billion worth of goods and services and 300,000 people cross the U.S.-Canada border each day. The two nations seek to develop regulations that make it easier and less expensive for Americans and Canadians to do business but yet still protect one of the busiest national border crossings. The two countries want to maintain security but yet accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods and services. The broad-based proposals include provisions for joint screening measures for cargo, the sharing of technologies and law enforcement, and regulatory cooperation. Proposals include common standards for tracking those entering and leaving the countries and a call for greater intelligence-sharing. The United States increased its border security efforts following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which has slowed cross-border shipment flows. The two leaders announced the formation of a bilateral Regulatory Cooperation Council to slash the bureaucratic red tape contributing to the shipment slowdowns.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:

  1. President Obama and Prime Minister Harper seem to want to speed up border crossing times for shipments between the U.S. and Canada but yet keep the border secure. Are the two compatible goals?
  2. The United States and Canada share a nearly 4,000-mile border and many Americans equate border issues with security. How should President Obama address potential concerns that policy changes will make it easier for terrorists and criminals to slip into the country?
  3. Some Canadians feel that the United States tightened the border too much after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and they have concerns that new joint policies will force Canada to align its visa and immigration policies with more restrictive U.S. policies. How should Prime Minister Harper address potential concerns that policy changes will make it difficult for Canada to maintain its national sovereignty?

SOURCE: Dvorak, P. (2011, February 5). Canada, U.S. seek closer ties on borders. Wall Street Journal, p. A8. (Retrievable online at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704709304576124542775441406.html)

Related video clip: Canada/U.S. Border Talks. (Retrievable online at: http://www.canada.com/videos/index.html?v=1781980665#/Canada/U.S.-border-talks/MHWUOeEpwfdLfamWcHM_tk58OtVpFRRl)

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