By The Canadian Press - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – A U.S. congressman says Canadians should not be overly concerned about a…
OTTAWA – A U.S. congressman says Canadians should not be overly concerned about a proposed border crossing fee, saying it just isn’t going to happen.
Democratic representative Brian Higgins, who is from the border city of Buffalo, N.Y., told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday that he has a lot of allies in the U.S. Congress who will stop any legislation that includes a fee.
Higgins, who is a member of the Homeland security committee, has been a vocal critic of a proposed feasibility study on a border fee since it was spotted last week buried deep in the department’s 2014 budget.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, April 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM - 0 Comments
LANSING, Mich. – The U.S. government approved Friday the construction of a second bridge…
LANSING, Mich. – The U.S. government approved Friday the construction of a second bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ont., which is expected to relieve congestion and speed up trade at the busiest border crossing between the two countries.
A permit awarded by the U.S. Department of State allows Michigan and Canada to move forward with the span over the Detroit River.
Construction could start in 2015 or 2016 and be finished by 2020, though lawsuits challenging the project have been filed by the owners of the Ambassador Bridge, currently the lone bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 3:41 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Canada will be watching closely to see if a massive scheduled budget…
OTTAWA – Canada will be watching closely to see if a massive scheduled budget cut in the U.S. this week will affect the Beyond the Border pact between the two countries, says Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
About $85 billion in cuts are set to hit U.S. federal programs starting on Friday.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said earlier this week there would be pain for the Canada-U.S. border because her department would have to cut 5,000 border patrol agents if the cuts go through.
Baird said the deal is key to the prosperity of both countries.
By Lee-Anne Goodman - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 4:26 AM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – Janet Napolitano, the Obama administration’s homeland security chief, warned Tuesday that the…
WASHINGTON – Janet Napolitano, the Obama administration’s homeland security chief, warned Tuesday that the looming array of U.S. spending cuts known as sequestration will cause pain for Canadians, in particular at the busy Canada-U.S. border.
“Sequester will be felt up there because there’s only a few big crossing places for trade on the Canadian-U.S. border and they’re really important crossing places,” she said at the Brookings Institution think tank.
“In fact, trade-wise, they’re probably the No. 1 or 2 crossing places in the world. As sequester evolves and we have to furlough people who are port officers, and not fill vacant positions, and not pay overtime, we’re unfortunately going to see those lines really stretch.”
The equivalent of 5,000 border patrol agent positions will be cut if Congress fails to reach a deal to avert sequestration, Napolitano noted.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, February 8, 2013 at 3:46 PM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – Iran, Syria and the Keystone XL pipeline project were among the topics…
WASHINGTON – Iran, Syria and the Keystone XL pipeline project were among the topics of a meeting today between Foreign Minister John Baird and his newly appointed American counterpart.
Baird says he appreciated the discussion he had with Secretary of State John Kerry about the controversial Keystone project.
But Kerry wouldn’t publicly indicate what he thinks of the project that has attracted criticism from environmentalists on both sides of the border.
He instead told a news conference that he will await a review process started by his predecessor Hillary Clinton and is promising a decision in the “near term.”
The decision on Keystone is in the hands of the state department because the Keystone project will cross an international border.
Kerry and Baird indicated they were both united on the need to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and to stop the violence in Syria.
Kerry says it’s not too late for Iran’s leaders to reach a diplomatic solution to international concerns about their nuclear program.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 2:29 PM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – David Jacobson, America’s outgoing ambassador to Canada, is still booking appointments into…
WASHINGTON – David Jacobson, America’s outgoing ambassador to Canada, is still booking appointments into April, but that hasn’t diminished the whirlwind of speculation in the U.S. capital over who’s going to replace him.
A guessing game is in full force in Canada-U.S. circles about his replacement, with many prognosticators believing U.S. President Barack Obama might send a woman to Ottawa for the first time in history.
Among the names with the most buzz are Christine Gregoire, the former governor of Washington state who’s played a key role in the Beyond the Border agreement between the U.S. and Canada; Jennifer Granholm, the Canadian-born former governor of Michigan; and Olympia Snowe, the long-serving Republican senator from Maine who opted against running for office in November, fed up with partisan gridlock.
By Anne Kingston - Monday, January 7, 2013 at 2:44 PM - 0 Comments
Control of an uninhabited island in the Bay of Fundy is up for dispute
Could a tiny, rocky, uninhabited island in the Bay of Fundy ignite the Canadian-American War of 2013? That’s the ominous prospect raised recently by Stephen Kelly, a professor at the Center for Canadian Studies at Duke University in North Carolina. Writing in the New York Times, the retired American diplomat, who twice served in Canada, called for the two countries to settle sovereignty of Machias Seal Island, which lies nearly equidistant between Maine and New Brunswick. Kelly’s concern is the 720 sq. km of water around the island, a magnet for American and Canadian lobster fishermen.
Kelly wants it sorted out now, while stakes are low: with no oil in the area and the current lobster glut, this is “an ideal time to colour in the grey zone,” he writes.
Canada’s official position is that there’s nothing to colour in. John Williamson, MP for New Brunswick Southwest, notes the island is in his riding. A statement from the federal government claims sovereignty is “strongly founded in international law.” Ralph Eldridge, the island’s lightkeeper for the past 16 years, told Canadian Press he “never needed his passport to go there.” Certainly the 81,000-sq.-m site, home to a seabird sanctuary, appears Canuck: the Maple Leaf waves freely and the Canadian Coast Guard tends it. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 6:12 AM - 0 Comments
FREDERICTON – A tiny island between New Brunswick and Maine is the subject of…
FREDERICTON – A tiny island between New Brunswick and Maine is the subject of renewed calls from both sides of the border to settle a territorial dispute once and for all.
Machias Seal Island is a flat, treeless piece of rock located about 19 kilometres south of Grand Manan Island and 16 kilometres west of the Maine coast at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy.
The island is a sanctuary for many kinds of seabirds including the Atlantic Puffin and draws visitors from around the world to observe them in the summer.
There are no permanent human residents on the island, just pairs of lightkeepers who spend 28 days at a time maintaining a lighthouse operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. The original lighthouse was built by the British in 1832, and a lighthouse has been maintained there ever since.
By Tamsin McMahon - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 11:00 PM - 0 Comments
Canadian investors are buying up so many distressed properties in Phoenix that locals are angry and analysts are warning of a crash
Last year, Edmonton investor Jeff Lastiwka was on the hunt for bargain basement development properties in the scorched real estate landscape of California’s Palm Desert when his brother-in-law, a real estate agent in Scottsdale, pitched him on buying 100 houses to flip in Arizona.
At the time, Lastiwka, who runs JayCap Financial, a private commercial lending firm in Alberta, balked at the idea. But after watching property values in Phoenix soar over the past year, Lastiwka headed back to the Scottsdale area this spring armed with $10 million to spend on foreclosed properties. He left disappointed, finding much of the market for distressed homes in Phoenix had already been picked over and snapped up by either investors or local real estate agents. “I kick myself about it now because the properties I was looking at a year and a half ago have doubled in value,” he says.
Phoenix was the epicentre of America’s subprime real estate bust, with property values plunging more than 50 per cent during the depths of the recession. Then came the Canadians, enticed by year-round sun and the prospect of brand new bungalows with backyard pools that could be had for less than the average Canadian household income—about $60,000 at the bottom of the market.
By Paul Wells - Friday, January 13, 2012 at 7:40 AM - 0 Comments
Now that relations with the U.S. are strained, Harper has warmed up to China
The question before us is how Stephen Harper, of all people, came to give up on the United States and embrace Red China. It’s been a long time coming. Let’s have a look.
Here’s the Prime Minister more than four years ago, complaining to our John Geddes in a pre-Christmas 2007 interview about the deterioration in Canada’s relations with the United States:
“We continue to see what we call the thickening of the border. The building up of more regulations, new agricultural fees. And to be blunt with you, this has happened despite a good working relationship between my government and the American administration. I’m not optimistic this trend will be reversed. In fact, I’m certain this trend will not be reversed in the lifetime of the current American administration.”
By Paul Rosenzweig - Monday, December 19, 2011 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
A former homeland security official says there’s an easy way to ease our border problems
Canada and America are about to resume negotiations over a cross-border customs agreement known as “land pre-clearance.” These negotiations failed in 2008 and, despite good intentions, may very well fail again. There is a better way—a land swap, formally exchanging territory on opposite sides of the border. It may take longer—but a long process that succeeds is far better than a shorter process that doesn’t.
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a plan they called “Beyond the Border.” The main idea behind it was for Canada and the United States to co-operate on a secure perimeter for their common space—in effect, applying the NORAD model to the movement of people, goods and services into North America. This is fundamentally a good idea for both countries—like it or not, our security is inextricably linked. From a Canadian perspective, one of the major corollary benefits of a joint approach to the perimeter would be the “thinning” of the border between the two countries, facilitating travel and trade.
To that end, one part of the December plan to implement the agreement (released earlier this month) calls for Canada and the United States to negotiate a land pre-clearance agreement—that is, an agreement where American customs and immigration officials will physically be located on the Canadian side of the border to screen people, trucks, and cargo before they cross into the U.S.; Canadian border officials would, likewise, do their work at a facility on the American side.
By John Parisella - Friday, September 9, 2011 at 3:56 PM - 1 Comment
Just as we are about to begin a year of commemorating the 200th anniversary…
Just as we are about to begin a year of commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 between the U.S. and colonial Canada, we are also recalling the horrific events of 9/11. While there are no similarities outside of lives being lost, the two events give an occasion to recognize how the U.S.-Canada relationship has evolved over the years. It is more than just the largest commercial partnership in the world. It is about respect, trust and friendship.
On 9/11, Canada became a long landing strip for stranded American travelers when U.S. air travel was suspended following the attack on the twin towers. In the days following this horrific act, Canada played a frontline role among the first responder nations. We felt the pain, the anger and the horror at such an irrational act. Twenty-four Canadians also perished that day. So we understood. We were active in rescuing victims, we were leaders in condemning the perpetrators of this unspeakable act, and we helped by welcoming the stranded travelers in our homes and hearts. Continue…
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 11:15 AM - 1 Comment
Deeper economic integration has been stalled by a risk-averse U.S. government
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, then-foreign minister John Manley was relaxing on an Air Canada flight from Germany when a pair of flight attendants asked him to come up to the cockpit. The pilots wanted to know what to tell the passengers about the extraordinary events on the ground. They gave Manley headphones for listening to radio updates. Airports in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa were closing. “It was chaos,” he recalled. “No one knew if it was four planes or a dozen.”
Canada’s then-ambassador to the United States, David Kergin, had just arrived at his office near the Capitol to see black smoke rising from the Pentagon building across the Potomac River. “We very quickly concluded maybe we were best to stay in the embassy because it was secure,” he recalls. As rumours abounded of bombs in the U.S. capital, the ambassador had a call from prime minister Jean Chrétien. “You know, the world will never be the same again,” Chrétien told him. It wasn’t—and neither was Canada’s relationship with the U.S.
Ottawa’s relations with Washington had generally focused on trade disputes such as softwood lumber and agriculture. Since then, the focus of time, energy, and spending has been the border. No longer is the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office the most important for Ottawa. Now the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created in the aftermath of the attacks, eclipses all else. The job of DHS is not to ensure trade and prosperity, but help to prevent another attack. And Canadians have felt the difference.