Tuesday, April 23, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Anger over proposed fee for Canadians entering U.S.

A proposal to charge travellers a fee for entering the U.S. by land has sparked anger in both countries, with opponents citing fears it will hinder border crossings and hurt the economy.

The proposal to study the new fee is included in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s 2014 budget.

In its proposal, the department urges a study examining the effect of collecting a crossing fee for both pedestrians and passenger vehicles along the Canadian and Mexican borders. Proponents say the fee is being considered as a way to cover increasing security costs.

U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson explained the study to reporters on Monday.

“There’s a proposal for some money for a study. We’ll wait to see what happens,” he said.

But opponents of the proposed fee already lashed out against it on Monday, saying it will complicate trade between the U.S. and Canada. It is estimated that nearly $1.6 billion in trade takes place every day along the U.S.-Canada border.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it would “vigorously lobby” against the proposal. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce called the fee a “serious mistake” and promised to fight it.
Chamber President Perrin Beatty told CTV News Channel the proposed fee unfairly punishes travellers. “The decision they’ve made is to study sticking it to the beleaguered traveller one more time,” Beatty said.

He said that if the fee is being used to cover security costs, it should be paid from general tax revenue and not charged to travellers. (Source: CTV News) http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/anger-over-proposed-fee-for-canadians-entering-u-s-1.1248504