Bad news for both U.S., Canada

An opinion piece in The Buffalo News (of New York) discusses a related issue - requiring Americans and Canadians crossing the border into the US to have passports, in 2008. Noting that most Canadians and Americans simply lack passports, the expectation is a considerable hurt to business that depends on day trade across the border.

Let's note in passing that in early 2008, 200 million Americans or more may be scrambling to obtain both passports and Real ID licenses. Can anyone predict Snafus? Here are some quotes from the article:
Since 9/11, Canadians have shared Americans' concerns about securing North America from terrorist attack and have been working with the United States to make our common border more secure. Canada has allocated $7.7 billion to bolster anti-terrorism efforts, including tripling the number of Integrated Border Enforcement Teams that target terrorists.

The question is: What more should be done to achieve the secure borders we all want ...
The proposed passport barrier would diminish the lucrative traffic of Canadian day visitors for Buffalo Bills games, fine Italian restaurants in Niagara Falls, shopping and spontaneous sightseeing trips. Parents, coaches and young athletes who participate in amateur tournaments, to the benefit of host communities, would face daunting obstacles to maintaining these friendly cross-border competitions.

The pain would not stop at the Mason-Dixon Line. The passport proposal would have a debilitating impact on Southern tourist meccas, where Canadian snowbirds can make the difference between breaking even and making a profit.

Canadian tourism operators will be hurt, too. We estimate that the proposed policy could suppress U.S. visits to Canada by 12 percent by 2008. In my home province of Ontario alone, the potential loss is $570 million and 7,000 jobs.


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