Redefining the U.S.-Canada Border: The End of Canada as a Sovereign Nation?
by Dana Gabriel
March 13, 2012
Through a series of bilateral meetings, U.S. and Canadian officials are busy working out the details of the perimeter security action plan. This includes a recent joint crime forum which dealt with border and law enforcement issues. These various discussions are part of the implementation process which when finished would bring about the complete transformation of the northern border and another step closer in the creation of a fully integrated North American security perimeter.
In early March, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano met with Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews as part of the Cross-Border Crime Forum. On the agenda was, “transnational crime issues such as organized crime, counter-terrorism, smuggling, economic crime and other emerging cross-border threats.” Both countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on the Dissemination and Exchange of Information to combat human smuggling and trafficking. The meetings were used as an opportunity to further advance U.S.-Canada cooperation in areas of law enforcement, criminal justice and intelligence. This ties in with my previous article which detailed the Obama administration’s new counter-narcotics strategy for the northern border that includes closer collaboration with Canada in the war on drugs. Much of the joint crime forum discussions focused around the progress being made on the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan, announced in December 2011.
A readout of Attorney General Holder and Secretary Napolitano’s visit to Ottawa explained that talks with their Canadian counterparts centered largely around promoting the perimeter security agreement. It highlighted, “efforts to develop the next-generation of integrated cross-border law enforcement operations, and improve information sharing practices.” Attorney General Holder stated, “Our productive discussions today at the Cross Border Crime Forum go a long way toward advancing a key pillar of the Beyond the Border initiative that President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced last year: integrated law enforcement that adds value to our relationship by leveraging shared resources, improving information sharing and increasing coordination of efforts.” Secretary Napolitano emphasized that, “We will continue to work with Canada to further enhance information sharing and integrate our cross border law enforcement operations, strengthening the national and economic security of both our nations.” As part of the perimeter security deal, both countries are moving ahead with harmonizing intelligence sharing capabilities.