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Canada mostly ignores US rhetoric about The Wall
Posted on Jan 21, 2019

By Ken Pole
21 January 2019

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale evidently isn’t overly fussed by suggestions in Washington that the US border with Canada merits more attention. He also is letting the government’s review of China-based Huawei’s plan to provide higher-speed 5G cellular communications run its course despite allies’ concerns about security.

The latest suggestion about border issues came from California Democrat Lou Correa, who is expected to lead the House of Representatives subcommittee on Homeland Security Oversight and Management Efficiency.

As the Department of Homeland Security raised concerns about terrorists coming south from Canada even as President Donald Trump pressed for more border patrol resources, Correa mused about other "porous areas in our homeland security structure," and was quoted answering himself by saying “I think looking at the Canadian border is definitely a place I want to go.”

Goodale was asked before a caucus meeting today whether he is worried by the prospect. “This is an ongoing dialogue that I've had with the United States now for three years,” he said. “Obviously, both sides […] keep very close eye on how that border is functioning. It handles 400,000 people back and forth every single day, $2.5 billion in trade every single day and the vast majority of it absolutely problem-free.”

That said, he characterized the security cooperation with the US as “extraordinary” as the various security agencies continue to work diligently to ensure “everything is properly managed to facilitate legitimate trade and travel and to prevent […] all forms of nefarious activity in the interest of both countries.”

Without naming Correa specifically, Goodale said the concern in Washington is that the Trump administration “is diverting too many resources to the Mexican border and pulling resources within the United States from other places in the country.”

Asked about the ongoing cross-border debate about Huawei’s 5G plans, which several of Canada’s allies say could enable China to eavesdrop on communications, Goodale said the government is “conducting a very thorough examination of all of the issues to make sure that Canadians will have the benefit of this extraordinary technology […] and the supply chain leading into that technology will be sound and secure.  We will make the decision that's in Canada's best interest and we will not compromise security.”

When the allies’ concerns were raised, Goodale said “Canada makes its own decisions about what is right for Canada based on our own analysis and expertise. Obviously, we listen very carefully to what our allies think and have to say. That's what an alliance is for, but ultimately, we're a sovereign country. We'll make our own decisions. […] We will make sure that Canadians are kept safe and secure.”

He declined to comment on the potential timeline of a Canadian decision on Huawei, saying only that “it’s an ongoing exercise and it's exceedingly complicated. This is technology the world has never had before so we've got to make sure we do it right.” 

– Ken Pole