Much has been made about the secretive nature and lack of transparency surrounding efforts by the U.S. and Canada to create a North American security perimeter. With several high-level meetings in the last month, not to mention all the behind the scenes negotiations, it is expected that an action plan will be unveiled at some point in September. From a U.S. perspective, it is security which is driving the agenda, while on the Canadian side, facilitating trade and easing the flow of goods across the border is the focal point. Any deal reached will build off of past initiatives and be used to advance economic, energy and security integration between the two countries.
During a bilateral meeting in early August, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird discussed issues pertaining to the Middle East and the Western Hemisphere. Also high on the agenda was U.S.- Canada relations. This included the declaration, Beyond the Border: Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness issued by U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper back in February of this year. At a news conference following her meeting with Minister Baird, Secretary Clinton stressed that, “it’s critical that we ensure our border remains a safe, vibrant connector of people, trade, and energy. And today, the minister and I discussed other ways to expand trade and investment; for example, by reducing unnecessary regulations.” It is interesting that Clinton brought up energy as this is also an intrical part of North American integration which is being further advanced through the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue, as well as other initiatives.