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Premiers still support idea of open border

FREDERICTON, N.B. -- Premier Bernard Lord's idea to foster a better movement of goods across the border is picking...

FREDERICTON, N.B. — Premier Bernard Lord’s idea to foster a better movement of goods across the border is picking up momentum with other premiers.

Lord raised the issue of locking down designated entry points in North America and opening up borders with the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers at the August meeting in Connecticut.

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and Ontario Premier Mike Harris have stated publicly they are in favor of opening up the borders like the European Union.

The remarks come despite the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and public musings from Americans about the porous Canadian border.

“I think we need to work to maintain access to the American market and maintain the advantages that were created with free trade. The Free Trade Agreement helped create thousands of jobs in New Brunswick and in Canada and if we have a border that is too difficult to cross then it will have an impact on jobs,” says Lord.

“Even though [European] countries have been to war with each other in the past 100 years, some of them more than once, they still have easier borders to cross than we do here between Canada and the U.S. and we haven’t been at war since 1812,” explains Lord.

The idea would see tougher laws surrounding entering North America at various airports and ports, but once on the continental soil, the existing border checkpoints could be erased.

U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci proposed the creation of a united front on securing external entry points, while making the Canada-U.S. border friendlier to trade and movement of people.

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