Eye On Boise

Officials, experts at PNWER decry tightening of U.S.-Canada borders

Officials and experts from two nations say a United States border policy driven by concerns about terrorism and problems at the U.S.-Mexico border is disrupting operations at the nation's borders with Canada - and hurting Pacific Northwest communities. "We've got a much more open border there, and we've got a real intense personal and commercial relationship," said Idaho Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, whose district borders Canada in Boundary County. "We're trying to decide what to do with the Canadian border based on what we do with the Mexican border - I think that's wrong, because we've got different problems."

As 500 officials, experts and business people from the United States and Canada gathered for the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region here to discuss cross-border economic issues including energy, agriculture and economic development, there was lots of talk about the impact of border policy changes in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Donald Alper, a Western Washington University political scientist and director of the Border Policy Research Institute, said his research shows a substantial drop-off in cross-border travel at the Canadian border with the security increases of the past eight years. He co-chaired a session on the issue on the first morning of the conference on Monday. "My personal view is it's probably ludicrous that we're securitizing the border with Canada to the point that we are," he said. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.




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