Sunday, December 18, 2005

Canada not interested in U.S. border fence project

Canada not interested in U.S. border fence project 2005-12-18 09:07:44

OTTAWA, Dec. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Canada has no interest in a new U.S. initiative to study building a security wall along the border,officials said Saturday.

The study 'on the use of physical barriers' was slipped into an amendment to a bill on border security and illegal immigration passed Friday by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The amendment, which comes amid heightened bilateral tensions arising from Canada's election campaign, also approved building security fences with lights and cameras along more than 1,000 km of the US-Mexico border to keep out illegal aliens and drugs.

Alex Swann, spokesman for Canada's Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan, said the U.S. administration has never discussed the notion with Canada during regular meetings on border security.

'This is not a priority for us,' said Swann.

'There's all sorts of things we want to do. This just isn't one of them,' he added, noting that such a barrier would be impractical.

Scotty Greenwood, executive director of the Canadian-American Business Council, said the study is a waste, stressing that what is urgently required are measures to speed the flow of trade between the two biggest trading partners in the world.

Canada has long fought the perception that it is a haven for terrorists, combating the belief that some of those involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks entered the United States from the north.

After the attacks, both countries took steps to increase security along what is been known as the longest undefended border in the world.

U.S. officials are now considering a plan that would require passports or other secure document of anyone crossing the border. Canada and tourism and business groups in both countries oppose the passport plan, saying it is too expensive and would seriously hinder commerce and casual visits. Enditem"

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