Funny, our oil, our lumber and our minerals have no problem crossing the border, but our people need a passport. Its nice to see our resources have rights even if Canadians don’t.
— John Doucette (G&M comments)
I was unsurprised while watching yesterday’s press conference at the Cancun leaders’ summit. It was widely expected that none of the leaders were in any position politically to make any proclamations on concessions. Bush, in particular, refused to be drawn on any issue, not unsurprising given his sub-40% standing in opinion polls. What I found saddening however, was his contention that requiring use of passports (or passport-style ID) would only “facilitate trade”. It’ll facilitate trade because without it, the US border officials won’t let you in at all.
Yes, Canadians will accept the US requirements. Yes, Mexicans will accept the US requirements. But we – they – won’t accept it because we believe in it, but because the relative weight of the US on this continent makes acquiesence the better part of valor. There’s nothing gained in angering your biggest trading partner.