Canadian budget a call-to-arms, so to speak

| 5/4/2006

Canada is a major step closer to arming its border-security agents with the proposal of the federal budget Tuesday, May 2, by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Following up on an election promise, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his finance minister are set to include $100 million in the next fiscal-year budget for border security that includes arming the guards.

As strange as it may sound to U.S. residents in a post-September 11 world, Canada’s border agents have not traditionally carried guns, much to the chagrin of their employees’ union.

Canadian border agents often have to call for local enforcement officers when situations arise that require firearms.

Flaherty’s proposed budget includes $303 million to implement more efficient trade mechanisms at the border as part of a $2.4 billion, five-year highway and border infrastructure plan.

The funding proposal means the Automated Commercial Environment program, known as ACE, could very well make its way to the forefront of cross-border trucking.

ACE uses transponder and computer technology to authorize commercial traffic with pre-approved cargo at the border. It is designed to increase the level of security and protection.

Flaherty’s budget includes numerous personal and corporate tax reductions aimed at working people and businesses. Some taxes that are collected will be restructured to meet with the Conservative Party agenda and promises.

The Conservative Party won the January election and ousted the Liberal Party after more than 13 years of Liberal rule.

– By David Tanner, staff writer