Enough with the scorekeeping!

While we wait for the Beyond the Border and Regulatory Cooperation announcements, some media have started to fixate on irritants as evidence that the larger Canada-US co-operation initiatives are impossible.  It’s true that elements of  the Keystone XL pipeline permitting process have turned to street theatre, that CBP did, in a multi-hundred page report, use the word fence when discussing upgrading to border ports facilities, and that the Federal Maritime Commission is examining whether harbour dredging fees assessed on incoming containers are causing maritime shippers to divert to Canadian ports.  But these are not signs of a troubled relationship, rather they are indicative of  a healthy, working relationship.  Rather than wring our hands about the impossibility of cooperation, we should celebrate the engagement of  states, provinces, businesses and governments on issues affecting real-world trade and border mobility.  The Canada-US relationship is not about grand diplomatic gestures announced from Ottawa and Washington.  It’s about doing a thousand small things better in Regina, Prince Rupert, Cleveland and Buffalo.

 

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