(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he hopes to work out a plan that will allow Canadian and Vermont law enforcement officials to work more closely together on border security issues. Douglas says he’ll raise the issue during his two-day trade mission to Quebec.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) Douglas has proposed a plan to Quebec Premier Jean Charest that calls for a greater sharing of key information between law enforcement officials in Vermont and the province of Quebec. Douglas says the new collaborative is one way to help reduce security problems at the Vermont-Quebec border:
(Douglas) “I had some conversations ith the folks at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington before pursuing these ideas, but the folks there encouraged states to develop these relationships with provinces. They said in a very refreshing suggestion that you can’t wait for the federal government on either side of the border to do everything and it would be helpful if law enforcement agencies develop these bilateral agreements. So we’re going to pursue that.”
(Kinzel) Douglas is concerned that adding additional security measures at the border crossings could result in lengthy delays for commercial and tourist traffic. He’s backing a plan proposed by U.S. Attorney Peter Hall to implement an expedited crossing system for certain groups:
(Douglas) “To provide for so called ‘frequent travelers’ across the international border to avoid the scrutiny of customs that is ordinarily the case. Particular travelers would be pre-cleared and have a more expedited process. The same thing is going to apply to commercial goods, with an eye towards screening them initially for anything that looks suspicious if it appears to be a clean cargo and can cross the border without further scrutiny then it will save a lot of time.”
(Kinzel) Douglas is also seeking ways to help Vermont businesses export more of their products to Quebec during the two-day trade mission.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.