It is hard to know what to make of the latest Canadian “ruffled feathers” flap going on over the comments of Janet Napolitano, the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary.
She got herself in trouble in a television interview raising the old chestnut about the 9/11 terrorists getting into the U.S. through Canada. This was said in the context of the U.S. treating the Canadian border exactly the same as the Mexican border.
Early versions of her suggested that she was simply ignorant of the Canadian border situation and her 9/11 attributes bore that out. However, she has since corrected the record to say she was wrong about that and was thinking of the wannabe LAX bomber who was nabbed at the border crossing between British Columbia and Washington State.
Now she has gone on to say that her problem with us is that we let in people that would be denied entry into the United States. In short, we need to be more selective. Her predecessor, Michael Chertoff, claimed that more than a dozen “extremists” were caught trying to cross from Canada.
Maybe instead of puffing ourselves up as not being a problem we should take a little more time to talk to our counterparts in the U.S. to find out exactly what they know that we apparently do not.
I cross the border two or three times a year, and I would not want to see some unduly militarized bureaucratic operation replacing the current one. However, we should be cooperating with the U.S. on weeding out the undesirables as much as we can and if we are not willing to do that then I suppose we will suffer the consequences.
I am inclined to give Ms. Napolitano the benefit of the doubt at this stage and assume that she has some good data to back up her policy utterances.