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Cablegate: Canadian Mps Raise Border and Spp Concerns

VZCZCXRO1040
RR RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHOT #1192/01 1712003
ZNY EEEEE ZZH
R 202003Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5950
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 1684
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY IA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY IAIP WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS E F T O SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 001192

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

DHS FOR OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS THERESA BROWN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/19/2017
TAGS: KHLS PGOV PREL CA
SUBJECT: CANADIAN MPS RAISE BORDER AND SPP CONCERNS


1. (SBU/NF) Summary: In a recent Border Caucus meeting with
the Ambassador and in one-on-one meetings with Emboffs, MPs
have expressed a wide variety of issues about the border and
cross border travel and trade. Most of the MPs from border
provinces say they have as one of their key issues (not just
key bilateral issues, but key issue period), the
implementation of WHTI. They continue to press for any
relief they can get on the passport requirement, arguing that
it will hurt trade, tourism, and long-standing relationships
between border towns. There is also concern by MPs who live
in the Windsor area about bridge expansion and management and
a desire for clarity and strategic planning between the U.S.
and Canada on this key issue. Finally, it is interesting to
note concern among some MPs, notably in the NDP, over the
course of SPP. They focus on perceived negatives in NAFTA in
the areas of labor and the environment and extrapolate that
things can only get worse with the SPP. Embassy is well
tooled to push back against these arguments and continues to
meet with all comers to explain our positions. End Summary

2. (SBU/NF) Ambassador met with some 12 members of the Border
Caucus recently for a luncheon and Emboffs have met recently
with eight or so other MPs to discuss bilateral and border
issues. The following is a compilation of the issues they
raised and their views:

-- France Bonsant, BQ - Stanstead, Quebec, Closure of
Streets in Stanstead: Ms. Bonsant raised an issue which hit
the press June 20 -- the closure to through traffic of three
streets in a village in her riding that abuts a Vermont
village on the other side of the border, thus dividing what
is effectively one town (Stanstead, QB and Derby Line, VT).
This is apparently one of those towns where building and
streets are literally split by the border and pedestrians who
cross into the U.S. while traversing the street are
instructed through signboards to report themselves to US
Customs. The local community has received reports that the
streets will soon be closed by US authorities in order to
channel people through the nearest port of entry. TV reports
indicate that this would have to be voluntary as the open
streets are protected by treaty. Bosant wrote the Ambassador
asking for his help in keeping the streets open and
maintaining the flow of the towns as they are.

-- Bonsant, Scanner for Christmas Trees: It was clear
from these exchanges that Canadian MPs are interested in
down-to-earth issues of commerce and travel that affect their
constituents. Bonsant also expressed concern about the lack
of a scanner for one of the crossings in her riding where
hundreds of thousands of Christmas trees are shipped to the
U.S. each year but are delayed at the border for inspection.
She asked us to look into the issue of increasing efficiency
at key border posts, in this case, by the addition of better
technology.

-- Judy Sgro, Liberal - York West, Ontario, Management of
Ambassador Bridge: In a meeting with Poloff, Ms. Sgro asked
for reassurance about how the Ambassador Bridge was being
managed in terms of security and expansion. She was
uncomfortable with the private sector management of the
bridge in an era of rising threats and sought assurances that
there was strategic planning being conducted by our two
governments on the future of the bridge.
Qgovernments on the future of the bridge.

-- Jeff Watson, Conservative - Essex, Ontario, Ambassador
Bridge Expansion: Like Sgro, Watson covers a riding whose
current economy depends on the smooth operation of the
Ambassador Bridge, and whose future economy depends on the
expansion of the bridge. He is very interested in the
ongoing negotiations over twinning and the third span and the
various options for this, and wants to see a better bilateral
planning process for the future of the cross border
infrastructure. He is concerned by recent indications that
the U.S. may not be fully supportive of the Detroit River
International Crossing (DRIC) planning process. "If the DRIC
is undermined," Watson said, "there will be a free for all
and the required infrastructure upgrades will be delayed,"
with potentially negative consequences for the cross border
economy. NDP MP Brian Masse from Windsor similarly is
concerned with rumors he has heard that officials on the
Michigan side of the border are considering abandoning the
bi-national planning process.

-- Watson, Pre-Clearance Negotiations: Watson would also
like to see negotiations on pre-clearance continue. He
basically expressed interest in anything that would help the
border to function more efficiently and for vehicles and

OTTAWA 00001192 002 OF 002


cargo to move more smoothly.

-- Gord Brown, Conservative, Leeds-Greenville, Ontario,
Future Travel under WHTI: Brown said he owns hotels in the
Greenville area and watches bookings closely. He said to
date things are not bad and he has not seen an impact from
WHTI jitters on cross border travel. He is concerned,
however, with the impact of the WHTI requirements on group
travel, and hopes that if we cannot change the passport
requirement we will at the very least clarify the requirement
so that groups and individuals can plan with certainty.

-- Peter Stoffer, NDP, Sackville, Eastern Shore, NS, SPP
Impact on Labor and Environment: Stoffer is one of the more
conservative of the NDP members, but nonetheless expressed
concern to Poloff about the direction the SPP is headed. The
NDP, he said, is primarily concerned about the impact on
labor and the environment and has some detailed issues it
would like to ensure are considered throughout the SPP
process. He complained about lack of inclusiveness on the
Canadian side during the discussions -- the NDP critic, Peter
Julian was not invited to the Calgary talks, for example, nor
were representatives of the Canadian Labor Congress. Stoffer
said they would like to ensure that no one is left out of the
discussions. He also said the NDP position is to keep some
things off the table altogether as the process moves forward.
Finally he suggested we not use the word "integration" when
discussing SPP, since people on his side of the political
fence have a major problem with anything that smacks of
Canada being
pulled into the American orbit.

3. (SBU/NF) Comment: In these and other discussions with MPs
we get a good sense for the range of issues they are facing
in border ridings. They leave us with several observations.
First, there is a need for constant dialogue on key issues.
Canadians want to feel like they are part of the planning
process and resent when we simply make decisions and inform
them. Second, they appreciate clarity. On WHTI and the
Ambassador Bridge what hurts us most if simple lack of
clarity about what will happen and when. Third, there is
considerable disinformation about SPP and beating this back
will take a concerted effort. On the Canadian side there may
be more work to do to expand the circle of shareholders who
are part of the process, ensuring all voices are heard as
decisions are made.

Visit our shared North American Partnership blog (Canada & Mexico) at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap

WILKINS

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