Sunday, November 02, 2008

U.S. wants more information on Canadians:

In exchange for continued visa-free access to the United States, American officials are pressuring the federal government to supply them with more information on Canadians, says an influential analyst on Canada-U.S. relations.

"Not only about (routine) individuals but also about people that you may be looking at for reasons, but there's no indictment and there's no charge," Christopher Sands of the Hudson Institute told a security intelligence conference in Ottawa Friday.

"This raises privacy flags everywhere, but we'd like to know who your suspicious people are before they enter the United States."

He recounted a recent conversation in which Stewart Baker, assistant secretary of policy at the Department of Homeland Security, told him Canadians have "had a better deal than anybody else in terms of access to the United States and for that they've paid nothing."

The Bush administration, Mr. Baker continued, is now telling Canada "we want to give you less access, but we want you to pay more and, by the way, we're standardizing this (with other visa-free countries) so you're not special anymore."

1:34 AM