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Address by International Trade Minister Van Loan at Perimeter Event

No. 2011/11 – Niagara Falls, Ontario – March 13, 2011

Check Against Delivery

For Canada and the United States, Niagara Falls has always stood as a symbol of our shared ties and our commitment to cooperation and partnership.

To most Canadians, Niagara Falls also represents our shared border. The border is of vital importance to both our countries and our shared economy.

The border has helped us build one of the most extraordinary trade partnerships in the world—one that supports countless jobs in communities on both sides of the border.

Some $1.8 billion in goods and services cross this border each and every day—along with 200,000 people.

And a truck carrying goods crosses it every three seconds.

So we need a border that promotes prosperity and keeps trade flowing.

And one that keeps Canadians and Americans safe.

Today, we’re officially launching public consultations on the Shared Vision for Canada-U.S. Perimeter Security and Economic Competiveness, which was announced by Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper and President [Barack] Obama last month.

We want to hear from groups with a vested interest in a safe, trade-friendly border, like the groups that join me here today.

And we want to hear from people in communities like this one—communities that have led the way in building the border that both countries rely on.

Quite simply, it is Canadians that use the border—not the government. Canadian businesses and workers send goods across the border, and many Canadian tourists cross each day. That’s who we want to hear from about the best ways to manage our border in the years ahead—Canadians.

Between now and April 21, we’re asking Canadians to visit the website to make their views known.

The results of our consultations will be published and will help to shape an action plan for the coming months.

Over the decades, generations of Canadians and Americans have built a partnership to be proud of—one viewed with envy and admiration around the world.

I know that Canadians will take advantage of this new opportunity to make their own contribution to our border’s future, and to the safety and prosperity of people in both countries, now and in the years to come. 

Thank you.