Canadian Trucking Alliance Recommends Joint US-Canada Border Crisis Plan
Nov 1, 2001 12:00 PM
Responding to United States Attorney General John Ashcroft’s warning this week that more terrorist attacks could be in the works, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has urged the Canadian government to push the US administration to develop a joint border crisis management plan.
CTA says such a plan is necessary to keep low-risk traffic moving in the event of increased border security concerns.
“The warning issued yesterday by Attorney General Ashcroft should make it plain to everyone that it’s not business as usual at the border,” said David Bradley, CTA chief executive officer. “It also highlighted the need to put in place common strategies to ensure that the outrageous border delays that followed the September 11 attacks do not become part of our trade landscape.
"Although we saw remarkable solidarity and cooperation between Canadian and US authorities, post-September 11 we also saw a lot of improvisation as different jurisdictions scrambled to deal with an exceptional situation.”
CTA first floated the idea of a Canada-US border crisis management plan in a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Chretien two weeks ago. Development of this plan would involve all relevant authorities on either side of the border: provincial and state governments; municipalities and bridge and tunnel authorities as well as the Canadian federal government and US administration.
In this heightened state of alert, a hoax, or even a practical joke, could cause the shutdown of some of Canada’s busiest ports as well as choke essential supplies for manufacturing plants on both sides of the 49th parallel, says CTA.
“Our federal government must put this matter right next to its security agenda in term of priorities,” said Bradley. “Ottawa and Washington must immediately strike a working group that would begin fleshing out strategies designed to maximize the security of our border while maintaining its ability to process legitimate traffic in the event of a crisis situation.”
According to CPA such a plan could include the following elements:
Real-time communications of border conditions to users
Designation of commercial-only ports
Redeployment of customs and immigration personnel
Deployment of municipal and provincial police
Up-stream triage of commercial traffic