Search

 

Cablegate: Managing 2010 Olympics Border Traffic

VZCZCXRO3870
RR RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU
DE RUEHVC #0078 0951749
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041749Z APR 08
FM AMCONSUL VANCOUVER
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4889
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHVC/AMCONSUL VANCOUVER 7240

UNCLAS VANCOUVER 000078

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CAN, DS/P/MECU, CA, CA/OCS, CA/EX, CA/VO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CA KOLY PREL ASEC CMGT
SUBJECT: MANAGING 2010 OLYMPICS BORDER TRAFFIC

REF: VANCOUVER 0076

1. This is the second of two cables looking at preparations for
the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Issues related to
economics, commerce and logistics are covered in ref. This cable
addresses the travel of tourists and participants to the Games
and potential issues for border management.

2. The increased global tourism associated with the 2010
Olympics could have a significant effect on USG visa and border
management operations. Vancouver International Airport
officials told us they are fully confident of their ability to
handle the increased traffic. The airport has a surge capacity
built in for the summer cruise season and expects this to be
more than adequate to handle the February Olympics' load. But
the Vancouver Olympics Committee (VANOC) is keenly aware that
many visitors to the 2010 Games will either visit or transit
through the United States. One major concern is the Olympics'
credentials given to athletes, dignitaries, National Olympics
Committees (NOCs), and other Olympics family members, which are
a valid visa for Canada at the time of the Games, but not for
the United States. They are worried participants will attempt
to transit or enter the U.S. using their Olympics' credentials
only. VANOC told us they have already reached out to officials
at Seattle-Tacoma Airport to develop protocols for dealing with
VIPs and other participants who arrive without the proper
documentation. As an aside, they expressed the desire to discuss
whether the U.S. government would consider allowing the Olympics
credentials also to act as at least a transit visa for the U.S.
during the Games.

3. Another concern is the volume of visitors from non-visa
waiver countries who will want to visit the U.S. once they
arrive in Canada. This poses a particularly large problem for
the Consular section in Vancouver. To address both issues,
CONGEN Vancouver proposed incorporating U.S. visa and travel
information in the packets that VANOC will send out to all
participants and NOCs prior to the Games. We are also working to
include the same information in packets sent to ticket holders.
VANOC responded enthusiastically to our proposal and, although
they are not ready yet to compile these packets, would very much
like to have our input when the time comes.

4. Border traffic management during the Games has dominated the
discussions at most cross-border meetings and conferences in the
region. CBP and CBSA are working together to develop surge
plans to cope with the unusually high volumes expected for the
Games. Again, the timing, in February, means that by all
estimates maximum volumes will not be more than the normal highs
experienced in summer. However, construction at the Peace Arch
port of entry in Blaine, Washington, which is now scheduled for
completion in March 2010, has organizers and officials on both
sides of the border concerned. GSA has promised to minimize
impact at the time of the Games and has indicated that most of
the construction will be completed prior. But the Olympics are
highly visible and there is a strong desire by local communities
to look their best in promoting the region. The timing of the
construction at Peace Arch will continue to be a major source of
angst and if the timetable slips again local officials are
likely to demand that GSA do whatever it takes to get the
project completed before the Olympics.

5. VANOC and BC officials display a strong sense of the
cross-border benefits of the Olympic Games. VANOC officials
informed us they are already discussing sending portions of the
torch relay through the U.S. Most notably, they would like to
have the torch in New York City at the time the UN issues its
Truce Proclamation, a regular event prior to any Olympics. Also
the organizers are considering bringing the torch through the
Peace Arch border crossing and actually holding a small
ceremony. Plans for the torch relay are not scheduled to be
released until fall 2008 but if Peace Arch figures prominently
this will only increase the pressure on the construction
timetable.

6. Comment: Officials on both sides of the border are aware of
the potential pitfalls related to border management for such a
high profile event. Canadian and American local authorities are
cooperating to address the issues and come up with workable
solutions for the 2010 Games. For some issues the solutions may
require more engagement from Ottawa and Washington, D.C., to
ensure that participants and spectators alike reach the Games
with a minimum of hassle. End Comment.

LUKENS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC