September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
Gov. Ridge Press Conference Ottowa 9:30 a.m.; December 12, 2001

News Conference
Date: December 12, 2001, 9:30 a.m.
Location: Commonwealth Room, Centre Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa

Principals: The Honorable John Manley, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Governor Tom Ridge, U.S. Director of Homeland Security; The Honorable Martin Cauchon, Minister of National Revenue SUBJECT: Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley and U.S. Director of Homeland Security, Governor Tom Ridge, participate in a ceremony to sign a 30-point plan for the Canada-U.S. border and then participate in a media availability

Moderator: Good morning; bonjour. I would like to invite Minister Manley to say a few words. He will be followed by Governor Tom Ridge and Minister Martin Cauchon. After the three gentlemen have spoken, we will proceed with the signing ceremony. Je voudrais inviter le ministre Manley à dire quelques mots. Le gouverneur Ridge et le ministre Martin Cauchon prendront ensuite la parole. Lorsqu'ils auront parlé tous les trois, nous procéderons à la cérémonie de signature.

Hon. John Manley: Thank you very much. Merci et bonjour, tout le monde. Over the last day it's been a pleasure for me to host Governor Tom Ridge here with us and a very broad team of officials where we've had the opportunity to review progress being made by our two governments on security and on keeping the flow of people and goods moving efficiently across the Canada-U.S. border. I believe we've made excellent progress and I think we've seen, Governor, the best of Canada-U.S. cooperation over the last 24 hours and action as we've worked together.

Today, we will be signing a declaration that sets our vision for a smart border -- a vision that is supported by four pillars: the secure flow of goods, the secure flow of people, secure infrastructure and coordination and information sharing in the enforcement of these objectives.

Alors c'est pour nous une occasion de signer une déclaration importante au sujet d'une frontière intelligente concernant la circulation sécuritaire des personnes, la circulation sécuritaire des biens, la sécurité des infrastructures et aussi la coordination et partage des renseignements entre les gouvernements.

We've agreed as well to a 30-point action list organized around these pillars to achieve tangible progress in each area. As you'll see shortly, we're able to announce some immediate progress in some of these items.

Let me give you very quickly an example of where we'd like to end up in one of these four pillars, the secure flow of goods. Our aim is to have a seamless system allowing goods produced in a factory to move quickly and securely across the border. So let's suppose we have a factory that meets a series of security tests. The goods can be packed in a truck that was electronically sealed. The information on the truck's cargo and driver could be transmitted electronically to customs officials. The truck would be processed across the border through a lane dedicated to pre-clear trucks and drive straight through across the border. This would be a significant improvement not [just] over what exists today but also over what existed on September 10th.

The umbrella agreement also includes a commitment to reciprocal investments by the two countries in border infrastructure and new technologies to speed border processing. The security of our two countries will be strengthened by the action plan. A smart border will contribute to more and better jobs for Canadians and Americans both. But most importantly, our border will remain that which it's always been which is a model to the world of what's possible in the neighborhood of nations when democratic governments put their best interests of the people first.

Alors pour nous c'est une occasion de renforcer non seulement les liens entre le Canada et les États-Unis qui existent pour longtemps mais aussi pour créer une frontière qui fonctionne bien dans les intérêts de nos citoyens et citoyennes.

And with that it's a great pleasure for me to turn the podium over to my friend and a good friend of Canada, Governor Tom Ridge.

Governor Tom Ridge: First of all, Minister Manley, I want to express on behalf of our entire delegation our gratitude for the extraordinary hospitality that's been extended to us over the past two days as well as the total and complete effort, intense effort during this period of time, to reach this accord and we certainly look forward to working with you in collaboration over the next several months to achieve all our goals, our mutual goals.

Ladies and gentlemen, President Bush sent me here to carry on our work with Minister Manley and his colleagues to make North America more secure and more prosperous. I am pleased to have worked with a remarkable delegation of senior U.S. officials: Commissioner Zigler of the INS, Judge Bonner, our commissioner of customs, Admiral Loy, the commandant of the Coast Guard, Ambassador Taylor, our counterterrorism coordinator, Ambassador Mary Ryan, Ambassador Leno Gutierrez and many, many others -- all people who almost from the moment of the September 11th attacks have been very busy working with their Canadian counterparts on ways to enhance our peoples' security and protect the flow of trade across our borders. They have been meeting intensively over the past day, carrying forward our joint work to protect our physical and economic security. It's a very large effort, a very demanding effort.

Our work has advanced a great deal in a very short period of time. Foundations [were] laid by a number of reciprocal visits by senior U.S. and Canadian officials over the past two months, including recent visits to Ottawa by Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill. Minister Manley has highlighted some of the things we are doing to facilitate and expedite commerce across our border. With our annual trade of around a half a trillion dollars, this is clearly a task that goes to the very heart of the well-being of our citizens.

That is just part of the story. There is no trade-off between our peoples' security and a trade-friendly border. We need both, for in fact they reinforce each other. So let me focus for a moment on just a few of the things we are doing to address the human dimensions of these new challenges.

We want to make it easier -- we want to make it easier for the average Canadian or American to cross the border. Our goal is to do everything we can to eliminate the wait and hassle for no-risk travellers so we can focus on stopping high-risk individuals. We are turning to smart technology to help facilitate the free and safe flow of people. New information-sharing agreements and new technological applications will make it easier to keep terrorists out of North America. We will use biometric identifiers in travel documents to make it easier to identify travellers who pose no risk to either country and then speed them along their way and we've agreed that our systems will be compatible. We are restarting the Nexus pilot program at the busy Port Huron Sarnia border crossing. This promising program, very promising program, had to be septembered after September 11th. The program, similar to an easy pass system, establishes a category of pre-approved frequent travellers who are able to cross the border in dedicated commuter lanes without delay. We're also adding new security features to that program. But the important thing is that we are not only going to restart Nexus, but we are going to work very hard to expand and use this technology across the U.S.-Canadian border. Minister Cauchon, who has been leading this effort -- and I congratulate and thank him for that effort -- with INS Commissioner Zigler and Customs Commissioner Bonner, will tell you a little bit more about this in a moment or two.

The Smart Border Declaration that Minister Manley referred to, with its 30-point action plan that we are about to sign, is exceptionally important to both countries. It illustrates the very broad cooperation between us but it's not the whole story. It is just a part of a very successful ongoing process, one that involves virtually every agency of our respective governments, and one that we think will keep growing. Earlier today, for example, Judge Bonner and Commissioner Wright signed an agreement on data sharing to detect customs fraud. This is another part of our strong joint focus on high-risk, illegal border traffic. Ambassador Taylor has reached agreement with Canadian officials on new forms of counter-terrorism cooperation including a major joint full field exercise in 2003.

We're doing quite a bit bilaterally, but the work goes on in many other places as well -- in the United Nations and in the G8 where Canada assumes the presidency next month. Admiral Loy, our commandant of the Coast Guard, reminded us of another good example yesterday: in the International Maritime Organization, Canada and the U.S. are standing shoulder-to-shoulder to advance the establishment of new and better standards in the maritime industry. This will raise the security profile of ships, ports and terminals all over the world.

We're going to keep at it -- making our people and our trade more secure, building modern, smart infrastructure along our border. Minister Manley and I agree that this action plan is an important step forward but the real test is our ability to implement it, so we will stay in regular contact to make sure that the plan is implemented as soon as possible.

I am honored and very pleased to be able to report back to the president on what we've achieved here and on the commitment I see in the Canadian government to face these new challenges with partnership and with a great deal of enthusiasm and creativity.

Now it is a matter of personal pleasure for me to be able to introduce the Honorable Martin Cauchon, Minister of National Revenue, to say a few words about that very important Nexus program and again to applaud and thank him for his leadership on this issue. Minister?

Hon. Martin Cauchon: Merci beaucoup, gouverneur Ridge, mon collègue et ami également, John Manley. Vous savez, nous, nous avons signé des accords de libre échange qui ont entraîné une augmentation du volume au niveau du trafic évidemment commercial, également une augmentation au niveau des gens qui traversent les frontières. Et nous n'avons jamais actualisé la gestion des frontières. Nous avons dit depuis le 11 septembre à plusieurs reprises que nous voulions faire en sorte que les frontières soient gérées de façon plus moderne avec une nouvelle vision. Nous avons dit également que nous ne voulions pas retourner nécessairement au 10 septembre mais que nous voulions améliorer la situation frontière pour faire en sorte que la gestion des frontières corresponde maintenant à nos réalités économiques.

And of course we have been talking since September 11 about the question of putting in place a smart border on both sides of the border. I mean, a question of imports coming from the two countries are key to our economy. Following September 11 we've said that we have to find a way to better manage our dual mandate which is of course the protection of both our communities but as well making sure that we will keep the border open to trade. We've been talking about what we've said this morning, putting in place a smart border, using more technology and of course using more technology on both sides, that is to say travellers' side and commercial side.

Today I'm very pleased to confirm with my colleague, John Manley, and Governor Ridge that we do reopen the Nexus pilot project that we have in Ontario and of course that has to be seen as a symbol and a sign that reopening Nexus as a pilot project, it means that we do share the same vision about managing the border, about using technology. We do recognize as well that alternative programs are indeed safe. It's a safe way to manage the border and it's a good way to make sure as well that we will keep the border open to business, to trade. In other words, the only way in the future is indeed to put in place a smart border.

Of course, next step with Nexus, you know that we have pilot-tested two different technologies on both sides of the border. We are going at this point in time through an evaluation process. Report will be tabled beginning of next year. Next step will be to expand the program, expand the program I mean across the land border, expand the program with the appropriate technology as well and I look forward to work with Governor Ridge and my colleague, John Manley, in order to proceed with that next step.

Then after we have to deal with the commercial side. I was pleased last week to announce the very first customs self-assessment agreement. It's a new way as well to manage the commercial side. We've been discussing over the past few days about the customs self-assessment and of course we would like very much to get involved with a sort of Nexus type of program but on the commercial side in order to make sure that we will keep the border open to trade and for travellers.

Donc merci beaucoup. Merci pour votre excellente coopération. Merci également à nos deux ambassadeurs qui ont fait un travail remarquable de soutien, d'enseignement également pour faire en sorte qu'on puisse épouser ensemble la même vision. À mon point de vue l'ouverture de Nexus et un pas dans la bonne direction pour mettre en place ce que j'ai appelé une frontière intelligente. Faire en sorte qu'on puisse utiliser Nexus, réouvrir Nexus démontre que nous avons exactement la même vision, que cette vision-là nous permet de mieux gérer notre mandat et mieux gérer les réalités auxquelles nous sommes confrontés sur une base quotidienne puisque le volume avec lequel nous sommes appelés à travailler aujourd'hui grandit et ne cesse de croître.

Prochaine étape évidemment c'est de faire en sorte qu'on puisse épouser la même vision du côté commerciale -- par exemple le programme d'auto-cotisation des douanes que nous avons annoncé la semaine dernière et que nous discutons présentement et évidemment du côté des passagers nous allons attendre le rapport pour pouvoir éventuellement étendre le programme Nexus à l'ensemble du Canada et la frontière canado-américaine. Merci beaucoup. Bonne journée.

Moderator: I would now like to invite Minister Manley and Governor Ridge to take their places at the signing table. Je voudrais inviter le ministre Manley et le gouverneur Ridge à prendre leur place à la table. Today we will witness the signing of a Smart Border Declaration, a declaration for building a border for the 21st century and the next step in the ongoing collaboration between Canada and the United States on secure border issues. Without further ado, I will call upon John Manley, Minister of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the Ad Hoc Commmittee of Ministers on Public Security and Anti-Terrorism, and Governor Tom Ridge, Director of the U.S. Office of Homeland Security, to sign this declaration.

Aujourd'hui nous allons assister à la cérémonie de signature de la Déclaration sur la frontière intelligente. Cette déclaration va nous permettre de bâtir une frontière pour le 21ième siècle et dont il s'agit les prochaines étapes de la coopération en matière de sécurité des frontières entre le Canada et les États-Unis. Sans plus tarder je vais demander à Monsieur John Manley, ministre des affaires étrangères et président du comité ministériel spécial sur la sécurité publique et l'antiterrorisme et au gouverneur Tom Ridge, directeur du Bureau de la sécurité du territoire des États-Unis, de signer cette déclaration.

Minister Manley and Governor Ridge will proceed to take questions following the signing. Le ministre Manley et le gouverneur Ridge répondront à vos questions après avoir signé cette déclaration.

(Signing of declaration.)

Question: Monsieur Manley, (inaudible) indépendance canadienne en matière de surtout réfugié quand on voit que l'accord (inaudible) des procédures (inaudible). C'est ma première question. Et deuxièmement (inaudible).

L'Hon. John Manley: D'abord il y a plusieurs choses à discuter dans le plan d'action. On va continuer pendant les semaines et les mois qui commencent maintenant de les considérer mais je ne crois pas qu'on a accepté l'idée que nos politiques seront déterminées par les États-Unis. On va discuter ensemble. On a, par exemple, dans la question des visas on a une approche différente. On a des États desquels nous demandons des visas, des autres que les États-Unis ne demandent pas. Alors il y a certainement la capacité pour nous de déterminer s'il y a des différences, s'ils sont nécessaires, s'ils sont désirés de notre part, de la part des États-Unis. Sur la question des douaniers armés, c'est une question assez -- comme j'ai dit hier on n'a pas encore décidé. C'est une question de politique gouvernementale et on peut le discuter. Jusqu'au moment on a une situation dans les aéroports où il y avait des douaniers, aussi des représentants d'immigration des États-Unis qui ne sont pas armés mais qui sont protégés par des représentants de la GRC qui sont armés. Alors il y a des méthodes pour déterminer la meilleure méthode de livrer ces services.

Question: Minister Manley and Governor Ridge, the trade, the reimplementation of Nexus and the review of Canadian refugee screening policies, this is not trade in exchange for Canada's control over some of its immigration and refugee policies or a North American Security perimeter by another name under American terms?

Hon. John Manley: Do you want to start or shall I?

Governor Tom Ridge: I would be happy to. First of all, this smart border declaration is an agreement between two independent sovereigns to work together to solve problems of mutual interest that effect the security and safety as well as the economic well-being of the citizens in each country. And it's been pretty clear during the course of our deliberations that on some of these issues because of cultural or philosophical or political differences that we may not share initially the same point of view. What we do share is the commitment to expanding the relationship and building on this historic relationship between the two countries and we admit going in that some of these will be problematic. Again, I just would assure and say, with great respect and admiration, the parties do have some differences of opinion on some of these issues. But there's a broader overarching issue and that is enhancing not only the security but improving the flow of commerce between these two countries and that's what we intend to work very hard to do over the next several months.

Question: (Inaudible) the refugee screening measures on the Canadian side don't end up to U.S. satisfaction does that put trade measures at risk?

Governor Tom Ridge: Well, I don't think that we're going to deal with any of these issues independently. We will try to resolve them independently but I think it is our goal, and Minister Manley and I have talked about this, is to try to resolve them, all of them, sometime within the next several months. So again, we don't want to deal with it in isolation because it really is a commitment to work across a wide range of issues to reach a broader solution in that context, the context of two sovereign countries working together to solve a variety of issues that we think are very important for not only our future security but our future economic well-being.

Hon. John Manley: I might say that one of the underlying assumptions in your question is that somehow or other Canadians are prepared to live with a lower level of security than are Americans and I don't, frankly, accept that assumption. I think that Canadians are as concerned about a safe and secure environment as are citizens of the United States. We don't have an ocean between us. We have, you know, a line a micrometer wide and we live on the same continent and our trade and our economies are very closely linked and it's normal that we would seek to satisfy one another of our security. As Governor Ridge knows, we don't on our side of the border want to eliminate the border because quite frankly there are things that we monitor crossing the border coming north that are of concern to Canadians and so what we really want to do is ensure that trade flows, which are so important to both of us, are not caught in a bottleneck caused by security concerns. And that's really the end of the day where we hope that we can end up.

Question: (Inaudible) I mean what do you call this when it's not a perimeter concept? Your recent agreement on joint immigration, on (inaudible) and at the same time talking about (inaudible) joint border facilities and speeding up that. I mean is that not a perimeter in another name?

Hon. John Manley: Well, as you probably know from my appearance before the standing committee, my problem with the word perimeter is that it's not defined. So when we work through the steps that we're trying to take and you can call it a perimeter and maybe I'll call it a circumference but let's look at the end result. We're not talking here about something that is inclusive of all of North America, first of all. We're not dealing with the U.S.-Mexican border. We're dealing with a series of very pragmatic steps in the context of the Canada-U.S. border that we think will make it work better for citizens on both sides. So you can give it a name at the end of the day if you like.

Question: (Inaudible) every one of these 30 points, will there be a trade-off (inaudible).

Governor Tom Ridge: I think you can well imagine that during the course of discussing and then negotiating and then finally trying to resolve these 30 issues, and our effort and our commitment is trying to resolve them all, necessarily in the give and take of diplomacy, the give and take of negotiations, just the normal process, that both sides will need to be flexible in order to accomplish our mutual goals but there's no prearranged commitment. We know there's some disagreements. We just have agreed to work very hard to try to resolve them.

Question: Minister Manley, how do you resolve -- you talked about resolving issues -- the question say armed border guards. Minister Collenette yesterday expressed (inaudible) for (inaudible) in the air saying he only reluctantly agreed to it (inaudible). How do you resolve such a basic question as armed border guards (inaudible)?

Hon. John Manley: Well, as I said in French a moment ago, we have essentially resolved it in the context of our airports. I'm not saying that that's necessarily the same model that would be followed at the borders. It's something that we're going to have to talk through and think through between us. It would require of course a change in policy if customs agents were to be armed, whether they're Canadian or American. That's currently not our policy.

Question: Would you agree (inaudible) culture?

Hon. John Manley: I don't deal with culture, you know that. I'm uncultured. But let me say that, for example, at the airports right now where we have both immigration and customs people from the United States in Ottawa, in Toronto, in Montreal, in Vancouver, in Calgary, that they are protected by armed police. They happen to be Canadian armed police but the issue is the safety, the personal safety of those individuals who are U.S. officials doing a job in Canada which is of benefit to Canadians as well as to Americans. Their safety is of concern to them. It's also of concern to us.

Question: En français, (inaudible) Monsieur Manley, vous avez (inaudible) en anglais mais (inaudible) empêcher l'impression que le Canada est prêt à accéder (inaudible) à harmoniser (inaudible).

L'Hon. John Manley: Mais on a dit depuis le 11 septembre que c'est nécessaire de réviser des politiques. Le monde a changé le 11 septembre. Il ne faut pas oublier le fait que des attentats terroristes ont eu non seulement ici au Canada, en Amérique du Nord mais dans le monde. C'est ça le sujet de discussions non seulement entre le Canada et les États-Unis mais à l'OTAN, en Europe, avec l'Union européenne. C'était un sujet de discussion à l'Organisation des États des Amériques. Alors beaucoup de choses ont changé. On a dit qu'on devra réviser des politiques. C'est pas une question de céder la souveraineté. Pour moi on manque de souveraineté si on (inaudible) et c'est nécessaire pour nous de nous assurer qu'après tout d'abord on est sécure mais deuxièmement qu'on a protéger le commerce important pour les deux pays entre le Canada et les États-Unis. C'est ça qui est notre objectif.

Moderator: Could the media please remain seated until the delegation has departed?

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