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Trade too tight at Can-Am border

QUEBEC CITY, Que. - New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord and Maine Gov. Angus King are looking into a more continental approach to security to ease trade between the neighboring countries.The 27th annua...


QUEBEC CITY, Que. – New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord and Maine Gov. Angus King are looking into a more continental approach to security to ease trade between the neighboring countries.

The 27th annual conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Provinces held at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, saw the issue of trade uprooted time and again, as Lord and his colleagues searched for ways to remove the impediments to cross-border trade without compromising security.

Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, says the U.S. is taking steps to get low-risk vehicles out of the lineups at borders, and creating FAST (Free And Safer Trade) lanes.

Maine assisted New Brunswick with the drafting of the continental security resolution, as King is also a strong proponent of opening the border for more trade and commerce.

A border comparison between Canada and the U.S. and those remaining in Europe was brought to the table, where the European Union has not only adopted a common currency but trucks can travel across many of the international borders largely without restriction.

North American business is disadvantaged while other parts of the world are eliminating their borders and experiencing the new global economy.

Premier Lord says a continental approach to security doesn’t necessarily bring with it a common currency with the U.S. or harmonization of the immigration policies of the two countries, but instead stresses a need to keep the border open to business and closed to terrorists.

Lord and his Cabinet have been looking to build alliances on many fronts. Recently Atlantic Canada transportation ministers met in Halifax and renewed an agreement to call on the federal government to allow them more input on transportation policy.

The ministers say regional input is key, especially on issues such as the national transportation policy, the need for highway funding and matters involving strategic transportation infrastructure.

Atlantic Canadians have a right to expect that governments at all levels are working hand-in-hand on issues that affect their trade competitiveness, agreed the ministers. They also say that long-term, guaranteed federal funding for highway improvements is critical if the arterial highway network is to be maintained. As well, they added that a larger share of the $4 billion in fuel taxes the government collects should be returned to the region. The Atlantic ministers maintain that the federal government’s neglect has contributed to the obvious decline in the condition of roads throughout Canada, but say the recent funding announcement for twinning the Trans-Canada Highway in New Brunswick is a good start and a positive sign of what lies ahead.


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