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NEWS: Trew says US agents in Canada under new border deal is ‘worrisome’

The Toronto Star reports, “Armed U.S. police officers will for the first time be allowed to operate in Canada along with the RCMP as part of far-reaching changes in Canadian-American border operations to be unveiled next week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama.”

“In contrast to the silence from Canadian negotiators, some U.S. officials have been open about what the new reality at the border will look like in the years ahead. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder revealed last fall that the deal will authorize Canada and the U.S. to designate officers who can take part in police investigations on both sides of the border. …The model for the joint policing program is the Shiprider project, a three-year-old plan under which the RCMP and U.S. Coast Guard join forces and ride in each others’ vessels when patrolling boundary waters. …(Shiprider) requires a Canadian officer to be in charge when the team of mixed U.S. and Canadian police are operating in Canada, and vice-versa on the American side.”

“Stuart Trew, trade campaigner with the Ottawa-based Council of Canadians, said further integration of Canada and U.S. police operations is worrisome at a time when Canadians are still waiting for the establishment of controls recommended (by the Arar Commission) on information-sharing by Canadian police and intelligence agencies. ‘The mechanism for holding the U.S. agents accountable is vague,’ he said of the joint policing project included in the border deal. ‘It’s difficult to know how you would file a complaint, for example, against a U.S. agent and whether there is any accountability in that respect.'”

“Besides security, the agreement expected to be announced in Washington on Dec. 7 will cover a wide range of measures on border infrastructure, harmonized product standards, intelligence-gathering and commercial transport.”