Doug Ross (left) and Anil Hira

Doug Ross (left) and Anil Hira find that Canadian and American differences on security issues conflict with the two countries' desire for economic integration.

We're no safer post-9/11

February 22, 2007

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Despite costly new measures aimed at protecting North America from another terrorist attack like 9/11, it is doubtful that Canadians and Americans are any safer today.

That's the conclusion of a new report examining Canadian-American relations six years after terrorists hijacked and crashed three planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing thousands of people.

SFU political scientists Anil Hira and Doug Ross are the authors of Canada After 9-11: A Land of Deep Ambivalence. Their report finds Canadian and American differences on security issues conflict with both countries' desire for broad economic integration.

That, says Hira, has led Canadian policymakers "to blur the lines between economic and security initiatives. Their initiatives are reactionary rather than proactive to assuage American fears about Canada as a weak link in terms of security."

"North America's policies and institutional reactions on security issues have failed to address the global scope of terrorist threats that observe no boundaries and that don't distinguish between military and civilian targets," says Hira.

With no consensus or long-term planning on national security policy, Canada is mirroring American policies on security, such as recent anti-terrorism legislation. Hira says Canada's compliance runs counter to its traditionally strong respect for civil liberties, as demonstrated in the recent Maher Arar case.

"Canada has never had armed border guards or an electronic surveillance system at the border," says Hira. "But those are coming into place to keep economic goods flowing across North America."

Hira and Ross will present their study at a border security workshop at the Burnaby campus, Friday, March 23, ASB 9705, 9-5. Their study is based on three years of collaborative research with researchers at the University of Iberoamericana in Mexico City and Villanova University in Philadelphia.

Federal, regional, American and Mexican government officials will attend the workshop, which is open to the public.

Link to website for the security paper:
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