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Long border waits a sign of things to come

COUTTS, Alta. -- Truckers should prepare for long delays at all Canada-U.S. border crossings according to border of...


COUTTS, Alta. — Truckers should prepare for long delays at all Canada-U.S. border crossings according to border officials who vow to beef up security for some time to come.

"People are going to have to get used to intense check-point vigilance and military-like security at all airports and border crossings between Canada and the U.S.," security specialist Bertram Cowan tells local media.

In fact, the border crossings will be under even more scrutiny as news surfaces that the terrorists may have accessed the U.S. through Canada.

Cowan adds "People will be questioned and scrutinized more. If they even act nervous they will be turned back or detained."

But the Coutts border crossing linking Alberta and Montana was not very busy yesterday, according to officials. Delays only ranged from 15 minutes to half an hour.

It was quite another story, however, at the Pembina, ND checkpoint linking the U.S. with Manitoba. Trucks were held up for two hours at the crossing and trucking companies are already feeling the pinch.

"It becomes a big cost to the company," Reimer Express operations vice-president Clayton Gording tells local media. "If this were an ongoing thing, it would be pretty big. If you did this for a year, for the whole corporation it would be huge."

The delays are a major concern for meat haulers, and the Manitoba Pork Council is concerned that thousands of dollars in meat could go to waste if border backups become too long.

Meanwhile, in Ontario, Premier Mike Harris says Canadians can kiss any hope of a more open New York-Ontario border good-bye. In June, Harris and New York Governor George Pataki agreed to make trade easier through the province’s border links to New York.


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