One of the largest issues between the two nations is the issue of truck passage. In the past trucks carrying goods or cargo had enjoyed a cursory glance as they crossed into the other nation however, after the World Trade Towers came down border agents on both sides of the border began to investigate trucks with much more scrutiny than ever before.
Historic allies, Canada and the United States agreed following 9-11 to a plan for a "secure and smart border" both U.S. And Canadian officials said would protect against terrorist attacks while facilitating this vital stream of trade. Seventy percent of the trade with Canada is truck-borne, with a truck crossing the border every three seconds in a stream of 200,000 vehicles each day (Canada, 2002).
The essence of that agreement was that the United States and Canada would devise ways to identify regular, unthreatening traffic in people and cargo and separate it from unknown or questionable goods and individuals (Canada, 2002). The idea was backed by Ridge and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley (Canada, 2002)."
However the agreement was not completed as the discussions broke down between the nations about the methods and intensity with which borders should be secured.
One expert took issue with the idea of truckers leaving Canada and entering the states (Canada, 2002).
There are at least a certain number of al Qaida terrorists in Canada," he said. "One of them could get a job at one of these (Canadian manufacturing) plants and then you may have nuclear material inserted in that truck (Canada, 2002)."
This public statement raised the ire of Canadian citizens already feeling the pinch of national security based in some part on the fact that they lived next door to America.
Talks were resumed and agreements were reached but not before Canadians let their feelings be known about the American attitude.
When the fallout of 9-11 was over with Canadian officials scrambled to immediately tighten customs and border security to protect the residents of its nation.
In doing this the temporary plans put in place created a bottleneck at airports and package pickups nationwide while people were stopped and questioned (Quinn, 2005).
Customs has always been an issue with international travelers as they work to get their product or items from one destination to another. Following the attacks of 9-11 customs tightened its regulations to the point that large companies found themselves unable to move the products and supplies as quickly as they need to get it done.
We have seen more [security] initiatives by both governments in the past four years than in the previous ten years," says Candace Sider, director of customs and trade development for PBB Global Logistics Inc., a third-party logistics (3PL) company in Fort Erie, Ont (Quinn, 2005)."
Since the increased customs security measures were put into place shipments spend an estimated 25% more time at the border being checked than they did before the events of 9-11(Quinn, 2005).
A trucker now knows that he or she will spend an additional hour at the Canadian border whether going in or out of Canada. That hour equals 100 kilometers in driving time which costs the company money.
Every 24 hours of delay at the border ultimately increases the cost of those goods by one percent, so the end result is that consumers will be paying more for products and goods than they were in the past (Quinn, 2005).
WHEN ALL IS SAID and DONE
The need for tighter national security cannot be denied. The events of 9-11 proved that relaxed attitudes cost lives however it is important to be sure that the new measures are not tightened to the point that personal liberties are taken away.
A challenge for all Canadians is to ensure that the fundamental human right, and fundamental Canadian value, of privacy does not fall victim to a climate of fear and uncertainty (Radwanski, 2001).
In a keynote address and speech to the Canadian Finance committee the Prime Minister of Canada addressed the issues of privacy vs. security in the nation.
There is no question that today's world is a more aware, a more alert world to the dangers that may be lurking around the comer than it was in the past. The privacy commissioner of Canada is charged with a heavy task. He must insure that the nation remains well protected while at the same time he makes sure that any new regulations do not interfere with the rights of the individuals who live in Canada.
The Canadian Constitution and therefore the Canadian government believe that the right to privacy is a fundamental right of each person, as fundamental as eating or breathing.
In addition, the showing of such fear of terrorist organizations that a government begins to infringe on its own beliefs about fundamental rights only serves to show the terrorists that they won and they have the power to change the world.
This is not a message that Canada needs or wishes to send to terrorist groups around the world nor is it something the individuals of Canada should support.
Instead it is up to the Canadian government to exercise due diligence in tightening and strengthening national security in all areas that do not infringe on the individual rights of its citizens.
Privacy must be protected at all costs. There cannot be freedom if there is not privacy and it becomes a very slippery slope once that line is crossed even if it is in the name of national security.
If we have to weigh every action, every statement, every human contact, wondering who might find out about it, make a record of it, judge it, misconstrue or somehow use it to our detriment, we are not truly free (Radwanski, 2001).."
The very fabric of Canada is the strength on which it was built and the freedoms that the Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms allow. Since the events of 9-11 it has become necessary to re-evaluate national security measures and be sure the nation is as safe as humanly possible but at the same time the privacy of its citizens must be protected as well.
Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Accessed 10-22-06)
Danna, Anthony and Oscar H. Gandy 2002 All that glitters is not gold: Digging beneath the surface of data mining. Journal of Business Ethics 40: 373-386.
Ericson, Richard V. And Kevin Haggerty 1997 Policing the Risk Society. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
____(2003) Erosion of human rights begins with the loss of the right to privacy.
Fraser, Sheila 2005 Passport office / passport services. In Report of the Auditor General of Canada, April 2005. Ottawa: Auditor General. http://www.oag.bcg.gc.ca/domino/media.nsf/html/20050403pr_e.html
Haglund, David 2003 North American cooperation in an era of homeland security. Orbis 47: 677-683.
Lyon, David (2006) Airport screening, surveillance, and social sorting: Canadian responses to 9/11 in context. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice
McColm, Chris R. (2003) Policies move toward protection: when a Canadian company adopted a program to protect cargo containers from terrorism, it gained increased security and a business advantage.(Cargo Security) Security Management
____(2004) Protecting privacy in a time of fear. (ANTI-TERRORISM).(George Radwanski address)(Transcript) From: Canadian Speeches
Quinn, John Paul (2005)Shipping to Canada: new priorities on the northern border: Canada's leading logistics service providers say shippers need to be more aware of the post-9/11 changes affecting U.S.-Canada border crossings.(a Special Supplement)