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NEWS: Can we expect a perimeter security announcement this weekend?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, US President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon will meet on Sunday November 13 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Will there be a border security announcement this weekend?
The Canadian Press reports this evening, “The sixth North American Leaders Summit (on Nov. 13) will focus on continental economic issues as well as security. Currently, Canada and the US are working towards a perimeter security deal but (Harper spokesperson Sara) MacIntyre said it would not be part of the talks between the three leaders. Officials wouldn’t say whether Harper will meet alone with Obama to discuss the security pact…” reported in October that, “Of course, everyone’s still waiting for the overdue announcement of Harper and Obama’s perimeter security and trade agreement. First promised by the end of summer, the Canadian government says the Beyond the Border deal is still unfinished. Will it be announced in Hawaii, which is, technically, outside the continental perimeter?” The CBC added then, “Officials from both sides continue to look for another time and place for the announcement, preferably in a border town. The backup plan, according to US sources, is for the two leaders to get together either before or after the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit in November taking place in Hawaii.”

Will it be a minor border agreement?
The Canadian Press reported several weeks ago, “The deal, as described by several sources, is more evolutionary than revolutionary, falling short of the grand vision outlined with fanfare eight months ago when Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President Barack Obama announced negotiations. …The so-called Beyond the Border action plan will include some three dozen items the governments plan to pursue together. A number could be in place within months while others would take as long as four or five years to implement. …The deal is not expected to include full-scale harmonization of immigration and refugee policies — a possibility that has raised the hackles of critics who fear the deal will cede Canadian sovereignty to the Americans.”

Will there even be a deal?
Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin has written that, “A while back the Canada-US perimeter accord looked like a done deal. …But now there are doubts. Officials are holding out the possibility that owing to US election year politics and other snags like the Buy-American issue, the deal could fall by the wayside.”

What do Canadians think about a border deal?
It has not been a popular idea. In August, the Toronto Sun reported, “Citizens worry their privacy and Canadian sovereignty is being overshadowed by security concerns. These were predominant themes in two reports released by the federal government on Monday. …The 1,000 people that participated expressed concerns about the sharing of their personal and travel information between Canadian and US authorities.” The concerns expressed are consistent with an Ipsos-Reid poll released this past February that found, as reported by the Vancouver Sun, that, “(68 per cent) of Canadians fear Prime Minister Stephen Harper will ‘compromise’ by giving up too much power over immigration, privacy and security to get a deal with the United States on border controls…”

Where can I read more?
For blogs on Council of Canadians analysis and action on perimeter security, please see