Canadian MP Gord Brown is optimistic politicians in Washington are open to changing their minds about a security law requiring travelers entering the U.S. to have passports.
The Brockville Recorder and Times, Ontario, Canada, reported that Brown was one of several Canadian MPs and senators who met last weekend with U.S. officials at the U.S.-Canada Interparliamentary Association annual meeting in Charleston, S.C.
“I think we made some headway this weekend,” Brown said. “There’s unanimity on the Canadian side. … Obviously there’s different pressures in the United States because of the security concerns – they want to know who is coming into their country.”
The issue prompted a reaction from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), which has lobbied for more streamlined travel/passport procedures.
Under the security law, those entering the U.S. by air or sea will need a passport effective at the end of 2006. For those using land crossings, the new rules come into effect at the end of 2007.
Americans, too, will need either a passport or a new identity card to re-enter their country.
That has Canadian tourist operators fearing many U.S. visitors will decide not to travel to Canada because of the hassle.
There are also worries the new identification requirements could grind tractor-trailer traffic to a near halt, causing chaos for the just-in-time delivery that’s a cornerstone of the manufacturing sector.
Border security is a highly charged political issue in the U.S. post-9/11. Given the political realities, Brown conceded it’s unlikely Washington will walk away from the matter.
The challenge, he said, is to come up with an identification system that allows the flow of tourists and commerce to continue, while satisfying concerns about border security.