By Dana Gabriel
December 13, 2010
There are numerous reports circulating that Canada and the U.S. are secretly negotiating a security and trade deal which could be signed as early as January 2011. The proposed agreement would establish a security perimeter as a means to better secure North America and stimulate trade. The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), along with other U.S.-Canada initiatives have allowed the two countries to incrementally move towards creating a common security perimeter.
The idea of a Canada-U.S. security perimeter is not new. Various bilateral actions over the last number of years have further laid the groundwork for this concept to become a reality. In 2006,the renewal of NORAD added maritime warning missions to its existing duties, in an effort to address new and emerging continental threats. The U.S. and Canadian military signed the Civil Assistance Plan in 2008, which allows the armed forces of one nation to support the other during an emergency. Under the Shiprider program that became permanent in 2009, law enforcement officials from both countries are able to operate together in shared waterways to combat criminal activity. Other joint projects have also facilitated the move towards a common security perimeter. In July of this year, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced new cooperative initiatives to combat threats and expedite travel and trade. It appears as if some of SPP’s security priorities have been incorporated into the proposed Canada-U.S. perimeter agreement.