Canada-U.S. border caught in Mexican standoff

TORONTO — The Canada-U.S. border is stuck in the 19th century.

Not only that, but the border is over-regulated, the wrong people are getting hassled and if Barack Obama doesn’t change his ways, things are only going to get worse and both countries will pay dearly.

Speaker after speaker made the point at a recent conference presented by the Richard Ivey School of Business and the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management in Toronto.

The U.S. is clamping down on illegal immigration from Mexico and according to the panelists, Canadian businesses will be threatened if stricter regulations get extended to America’s northern frontier.

According to media reports, the panelists agree Canada needs more fluidity, not less, when it comes to border crossings.

The panelists, comprised mostly of bureaucrats and academics agreed that it’s important to bring efficiencies to the border which carries more than $1.5 billion in trade every day. (About a million bucks a minute.)

In March, the Obama administration scrapped a U.S.$410-billion cross-border trucking program with Mexico, which was originally designed to allow Mexican trucks free roam of American roads.

One Ottawa-based academic, Fen Hampson, the director of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University told the panel discussion there was a real danger that Canada-U.S. border issues would get lumped in with U.S.-Mexico border problems.

Michael Bryant, Ontario’s Economic Development Minister said that the U.S. recognized a need for improvements to the border crossing but that it would be a difficult to get such improvements through Congress.

The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has signaled that U.S. were not open to differing policies regarding Mexico and Canada.

“She has made it very clear that all of her southern U.S. neighbors were of the view that what is right for the Mexican border is right for the Canadian border,” Mr. Bryant said.

Michael Hart, a Simon Reisman chair in Trade Policy and a professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, said the U.S. Canada border was stuck in the 19th century.

"We have a dysfunctional border," he said.

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