Cablegate: Scenesetter: Secretary Chertoff's Visit to Ottawa, March 17,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.







E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) As you prepare for your first meeting in Ottawa
with Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, I want to
extend my welcome and the Embassy's continuing support
for the dialogue. At a time when Canadians are voicing
concern about the growing role of "border risk" in the
bilateral economic relationship, continued close,
senior-level cooperation between DHS and PSEPC is vital
to keeping up progress in creating the Smart Border.
The Smart Border Action Plan has been one of our most
important policy successes in the past three years, and
I welcome your early visit to our biggest economic
partner and the neighbor with whom we share our longest
and most heavily traveled border. I believe that one
of the most crucial challenges you will face during
your tenure will be to ensure that we implement the
most efficient and secure solution to the
infrastructure crisis looming at the Windsor-Detroit
Gateway, and that we do so as quickly as possible.

2. (SBU) You will find the working relationships
between DHS and PSEPC close, professional and
productive. While we tend to look at the border with
security concerns, our counterparts here see the border
as fundamental to their economic prosperity. The
government has therefore stepped up its actions to
ensure we have confidence in the security of our
shared border.

3. (SBU) Two constants underlie the government's close
cooperation. First is that their own population does
not share the same sense of concern about the threat or
the urgency in dealing with it, and few in government
are prepared to make the political case to their own
public. Second is that we find the government is very
good at moving through the pieces of the border agenda
which make sense for them, such as Halifax pre-
clearance or a pilot land pre-clearance program (both
of which I support), but it takes a long time for them
to focus on our concerns, such as a shiprider agreement
or security for DHS airport pre-clearance personnel.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Martin's Liberals Experience the Limits of Minority
--------------------------------------------- ------

4. (SBU) After governing in majority for more than ten
years under the leadership of Jean Chretien, the
Liberals went to elections June 28, 2004 under the
leadership of Paul Martin. Hurt by a Chretien-era
scandal involving the illegal disbursement of federal
monies in Quebec, the Liberal Party was reduced to
minority status, the first in Canada since 1979. The
Parliamentary session that ended in December
established early on the limits of minority government.
On paper, the normal alignment of the left-of-center
New Democratic Party with the Liberals puts Martin neck-
and-neck with the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois.
It became obvious, however, that neither coalition was
automatic; the standard "dictatorship" of the executive
branch under a majority government no longer holds, and
the back bench and opposition enjoy increased clout,
slowing considerably the business of government.

5. (SBU) PM Martin's legislative agenda has therefore
been modest so far. Canadians have made it clear that
they do not want elections this year, but if the
government loses a key vote, ready-or-not elections
will follow. Rather than risk this, Martin has decided
to avoid controversial issues such as missile defense,
which he announced to our surprise that Canada will not
participate in, and will tread carefully in the
upcoming vote on same-sex marriage.

6. (SBU) Canada's international agenda has been
similarly modest. There is a growing sense among
Canadian elites and certain political circles that the
country should return to its traditional position as a
middle power on the global stage, reversing the
slippage in clout as its attention and resources have
turned inward. This view was strong enough (and the
budget surplus large enough) that Martin announced a
significant increase in defense spending over the next
five years, which should help shore up Canada's
depleted military capabilities. Canada has also been
active in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and while
domestic politics precluded a direct role in Iraq,
Canadian election officials led the international
observer mission in the January elections, and the
Canadian government has pledged USD 800,000 for the
NATO train and equip mission for the Iraqi military.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
National Security Policy, International Policy Review,
and the Security Budget
--------------------------------------------- ---------

7. (U) As incoming Prime Minister in the fall of 2003,
Martin aggressively reorganized Canadian security and
border agencies into a structure similar to that of
DHS, putting Minister McLellan in charge of CBSA, RCMP
and CSIS under the overarching Department of Public
Safety and Emergency Preparedness (PSEPC) and giving
her the title of Deputy Prime Minister. In April 2004,
the government announced a National Security Policy for
Canada, the country's first-ever comprehensive
articulation of its national security interests. These
include the protection of Canada; the safety and
security of Canadians at home and abroad; ensuring that
Canada is not used as a base for threats to her allies;
and contributing to international security
(peacekeeping, nonproliferation).

8. (U) Arguing that Canada's international engagement
must merge with national aspirations to deal with a
world where "time and distance have lost their
isolating effect," the government promised to release
an International Policy Statement that would integrate
the country's defense, security, diplomacy, and
trade/development efforts. However, that statement has
not yet emerged, possibly bogged down in interagency
disputes over future resources.

9. (U) Nevertheless, border security issues are likely
to remain a priority. The government's 2005 budget,
passed last week, contains an additional CAD 1 billion
(approx. USD 800 million) for the goals outlined in the
National Security Policy. CAD 222 million over five
years is earmarked for maritime security, including
patrol vessels for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence
Seaway, additional inspections, Emergency Response
Teams for the Great Lakes and increased police presence
in ports, and an additional CAD 88 million will go to
work on the bilateral Container Security Initiative.
Another CAD 433 million over five years will go to
"strengthening the capacity of the Government to
deliver secure and efficient border services."

--------------------------------------------- ---
The Ridge-McLellan Dialogue and the Smart Border Action
--------------------------------------------- ---

10. (SBU) In a relationship colored by Canadian
ambivalence and some perplexing policy reversals, the
Smart Border Action Plan, announced in 2001, has been
one of our greatest bilateral policy successes in my
time here. I encourage you to keep up the pressure for
results -- with the full support of Mission Canada.
Driven by high-level contacts between your predecessor
and Deputy Prime Ministers Manley and McLellan, the two
sides have achieved many of the goals set out in the
Action Plan and have used the framework to develop
productive informal relationships, with important knock-
on effects at local levels.

11. (SBU) As a third of Canada's GDP derives from
trade with the U.S., the operation of the border is a
burning issue to government and industry alike. The
"Smart Border" concept enjoys broad support among
business and local governments on both sides of the
border as well as in Ottawa, and has been an important
element in rebuilding public confidence that security
and trade can go hand in hand. In some places, such as
Vancouver, the private sector is driving innovative
pilot programs under the Smart Border framework. I am
optimistic that the security and prosperity agenda
announced by President Bush and PM Martin in December,
to be rolled out later this month, will build on both
the policy and operational achievements and the can-do
approach of the Smart Border process.

12. (SBU) We have made progress on a number of fronts
in the past year. In large part because of the efforts
of Mission DHS/CBP officers, most Canadian exporters
successfully navigated the implementation last year of
FDA's prior notice rules under the Bioterrorism
Reporting Act (BTA). FAST uptake is growing, and extra
resources committed to FAST processing should show
concrete results at the borders.

13. (SBU) Infrastructure issues, which result as much
from trade growth as from new security requirements,
are likely to remain a challenge. Detroit-Windsor is
the critical choke point and the one that attracts the
most Parliamentary and press attention. In my view,
however, the federal government in Ottawa has not
accorded the problem adequate importance or urgency.
The debate over new border crossings in the region has
been enlivened with publication of the Schwartz Report
recommending an alternative route, but building
consensus among multiple stakeholders on both sides of
the border is likely to be an arduous process, with the
binational study of the issue due to be finished by
2007 at the earliest. In the shorter term, I look
forward to the joint efforts of U.S. and Canadian
agencies to meet the "25% Challenge" posed by Secretary
Ridge and DPM McLellan in December, to reduce border
waiting times by 25% at the Detroit-Windsor crossing.
I hope this initiative will showcase the improvements
already made as well as identify remaining bottlenecks.

14. (SBU) Creating a seamless security net at the
border will be a complex and long-term process, which
will have to navigate the legal and sovereignty issues
posed by reverse inspection and other efforts to
develop joint processing, as well as both the technical
and privacy issues surrounding information sharing.
Making it work is a top priority for Mission Canada as
a whole, and I hope that your meeting with DPM McLellan
will lay the foundations for a long and productive
relationship that can effectively drive progress.


© Scoop Media

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