By Tu Thanh Ha, Globe and Mail,September 29, 2011
The United States border agency is considering fencing some parts of the Canadian-U.S. border, along with deploying more remote sensors and upgrading checkpoints.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) cautions, however, that the proposed “selective fencing” would not be as extensive as the hundreds of kilometres of fences along the border with Mexico.
Details are outlined in a draft environmental-impact study that was released two weeks ago, seeking input from American communities along the 6,400-kilometre border from Maine to Washington state.
“While fencing has played a prominent role in CBP’s enforcement strategy on the Southern Border to deter illegal border crossings, it is unlikely that fencing will play as prominent a role on the Northern Border, given the length of the border and the variability of the terrain,” the document says.
“CBP would use fencing and other barriers to manage movement (e.g., trenching across roads) in trouble spots where passage of cross-border violators is difficult to control; the resulting delay for cross-border violators would increase the rate of interdiction.”
An accompanying table shows there would be about five major projects, either upgrading access roads or building fences of more than 400 metres in length in each of four geographic areas, the border west of the Rockies, the Prairies, the Great Lakes and New England.
Nothing, not the Canadian debate over nuclear warheads on American missiles, and which country had the right to pull the trigger in the event of deployment, is more heinous to the Canadian public, that the possibility of the Americans building a wall along our border. Of course, Canada cannot stop what our neighbour to the south does on their own territory. Neverthelesss there are many reasons to fight this lunacy.
First, one of the proudest traditions of living in North America is that we have enjoyed an undefended border since both countries came into existence.
And that pride is sustained by the facts that rarely have there been abuses.
Second, the Americans, in building even a partial fence, risk creating a walled encampment of their country, and the perception around the world that they are operating in complete paranoia, and the terrorists have succeeded in destroying what was formerly trumpeted as one of the most free and courageous countries on the planet.
Third, building walls is only another flag to overcome, a challenge to be proudly accepted, by those seeking the destruction of the U.S. and the freedoms of its 300 million citizens. They will mount those wall, dig under them, blow them to smithereens, or merely fly over them, if the terrorists determine that by so doing they would be successfully thumbing their noses at the United States.
Fourth, if there ever were a time when the U.S. had no money for such construction, it is during the current debt/deficit crisis. This idea is no jobs program as is the building of infrastructure like roads, bridges and raillines that are in serious disrepair.
Fifth, and this is the most serious objection of all, if this idea is permitted to go ahead, the reputation of the United States as espoused, indeed championed by President Obama, as the beacon of freedom and light to the world, will have lost its energy, and potentially thereby he will have lost his own presidency, the real goal of those who see walling themselves in, even partially, as just another nail in his political coffin. Any Canadian negotiator who participates in discussions with the Americans on this file, in the employ of the current Canadian government, will note wryly that they are participating in holding the hammer that drives those nails in that coffin, and will thereby benefit Canada, they think and believe, upon the election of a Republican president in 2012, only one year into the Canadian government's four-year mandate.
This is both bad "national security" for the U.S.; it is seriously sinister politics for the president of the U.S., and it is another example of how the U.S. has truly lost its way, under the current circumstances, by permitting power to those who abuse it, even by writing such a dangerous report....Are they all members of the Tea Party?