TORONTO Jun 28, 2005 — The United States, Canada and Mexico pledged Monday to shore up security by integrating their terrorist watchlists and beefing up joint protection of borders and bridges.
At the same time, they promised to expand what is already the world's largest trading partnership by developing a single program to facilitate the free flow of people and goods across their shared borders.
"We are three countries, three friends living in the same neighborhood, so we have a common interest in our mutual security and our mutual prosperity," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a news conference in Ottawa after he and his Canadian and Mexican counterparts unveiled their list of targets and initiatives.
"We want to confront external threats; we want to prevent and respond to threats to North America and we want to facilitate the flow of traffic across our borders," Chertoff said. "The more secure our region is, the more our prosperity will flourish."...
Some other proposals include:
creating a single, integrated program to allow "trusted travelers" who frequent the borders to travel quickly by air, land and sea.
The partnership initiative has its detractors, who are concerned that further integration of North American security and trade will be skewed toward big business and a threat to Canada's sovereignty.
"Deep integration uses security as a Trojan Horse for the complete surrender of our sovereignty to North American big business," Peter Julian, a New Democratic Party member of Parliament, told the House of Commons earlier this month as he pledged to fight the plan....
The White House praised the efforts of the ministers, who said they would report back to their leaders in the fall.
"Their report represents an important first step in achieving the goals of the SPP," read a statement from the White House.