OTTAWA, Ont. - Department of Homeland Security and Canadian officials are moving ahead with negotiations for a pilot project to relocate U.S. primary and secondary inspection stations to the Canadian...
PILOT PROJECT: U.S. inspectors will soon be on the Canadian side.
OTTAWA, Ont. – Department of Homeland Security and Canadian officials are moving ahead with negotiations for a pilot project to relocate U.S. primary and secondary inspection stations to the Canadian side of the border and vice-versa.
The first pilot project, if given the go-ahead by governments both here and in the U.S., would involve the Fort Erie/Buffalo Peace Bridge crossing. The Peace Bridge project would place U.S. Customs inspection booths on the Canadian side, where the Canadian inspections plaza is located. The second pilot project, which would place Canadian Customs on the U.S. side, would involve another as yet unspecified crossing, possibly in the Thousands Islands/Queenston-Lewiston area.
As for whether U.S. Customs officials will be allowed to carry guns on the Canadian side, this is still a matter for negotiations.
“There is still a lot of legislative work to be done,” said Alex Swann, director of communications for the Deputy Prime Minister. “But in Canadian airports, U.S. Customs officials do not carry guns. Even though RCMP officers are stationed nearby to provide support if needed. There could be an arrangement that was somewhat similar for booths at the land border.”
Other powers of U.S. versus Canadian Customs inspectors and officers would also have to be negotiated before the pilot project began.
“There’s no point at which I could comfortably say this project would begin,” said Swann. “But if you said in about a year, I would say that would be in the right ballpark.”
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