US embassy cable - 05TORONTO3209

BRINGING ORDER TO THE BORDER: ONTARIO'S BORDER CZAR MICHAEL KERGIN

Identifier: 05TORONTO3209
Wikileaks: View 05TORONTO3209 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Toronto
Created: 2005-12-09 14:25:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PBTS CA Border Patrol Trade
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TORONTO 003209 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/08/2015 
TAGS: PREL, PBTS, CA, Border Patrol, Trade 
SUBJECT: BRINGING ORDER TO THE BORDER: ONTARIO'S BORDER 
CZAR MICHAEL KERGIN 
 
REF: A. TORONTO 2778 
     B. TORONTO 3042 
 
Classified By: Consul General Jessica LeCroy for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d 
). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  Michael Kergin, Ontario,s Special Advisor 
on Border Issues, told the Consul General on December 6 that 
he is working to facilitate trade while maintaining high 
security standards at the border as mutually reinforcing 
objectives.  He said the Detroit River International Crossing 
(DRIC) study was proceeding well but could benefit from the 
attention and leadership of senior political-level U.S. and 
Canadian officials.  Kergin expressed concern about the 
Ambassador Bridge proposal to assume the operating lease on 
the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, and observed that Canada Border 
Services Agency (CBSA) officers continue to be concerned for 
their safety since they are not allowed to carry weapons. 
END SUMMARY. 
 
Ontario,s New Border Czar Outlines His Mandate 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
2.  (C) In a December 6 courtesy call on the Consul General, 
Ontario,s Special Advisor on Border Issues (and former 
Canadian Ambassador to the U.S.) Michael Kergin defined his 
new job to her and Pol/Econ Chief as having two halves: the 
first, he described as &the hardware,8 includes the 
physical border crossings and infrastructure leading to the 
border; the second, &the software,8 is focused on 
processing people and goods at the border.  Security and 
trade are mutually reinforcing.  Ontario is a stakeholder in 
border traffic processing, he said, but the federal 
government has the lead in resolving these issues, this 
included the ongoing preclearance discussions for the 
Buffalo/Niagara and the Thousand Island border crossings. 
Unfortunately, he observed, progress in concluding the 
negotiations will be extremely slow until after the January 
23 Canadian federal election allows the political level in 
Ottawa to refocus on the remaining difficult issues such as 
detention procedures. 
 
3.  (C) Kergin advised that Premier McGuinty fears that, if 
the actual transactional cost or opportunity cost of crossing 
the border increases significantly, Canada will lose its 
competitive advantage (a relatively cheap Canadian dollar and 
lower health care costs), and will have great difficulty 
attracting cross-border investments.  This would further 
damage the North American auto sector, he observed.  The 
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) was already 
having an affect on convention planners, who were selecting 
venues for international events to be held in 2008. 
 
Detroit-Windsor Border a Major Focus 
------------------------------------ 
 
4.  (C) The Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study 
process is working pretty well, according to Kergin.  All 
involved jurisdictions (Canadian federal and provincial and 
U.S. federal and state) must stay united or the other 
stakeholders will drive wedges into the process.  He noted 
local politics would trump the big picture in Windsor and 
Detroit.  The Canadian provincial and federal governments are 
relatively happy with the central corridor that is the focal 
point for the two remaining possible bridge sites.  Canadian 
citizens, groups are beginning to organize around two 
different sites in the vicinity of the proposed area ) the 
village of Sandwich, an historic loyalist outpost on the 
northern side of the sites, and the Ojibway Prarie Provincial 
Nature Reserve on the southern side of the proposed sites. 
Kergin suggested that the DRIC study process would benefit 
from attention and leadership by the senior political level 
on both sides of the border. 
 
5.  (C) Kergin expressed concern that the proposed takeover 
of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel operating lease by the 
Ambassador bridge company raises serious governance issues. 
Public oversight of this near monopoly would be needed.  He 
also expressed concerns about a possible twining of the 
existing Ambassador Bridge span, but suggested Canada,s 
major way to influence a possible twining of the bridge is by 
not providing the improved road infrastructure needed to feed 
the additional traffic onto the bridge. 
 
Canadian Border Agents Want to Bear Arms 
---------------------------------------- 
 
6.  (C) Kergin advised that Alain Jolicoeur, President of the 
Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), had told him in late 
November that the CBSA officers at the border would like to 
gain permission to carry weapons.  Jolicoeur had said the 
CBSA officers were concerned they would be unable to cope 
with armed Americans crossing the border from the U.S.  If 
they were given permission to carry weapons, Kergin said he 
had heard, the CBSA officers would have to receive additional 
training and would receive a higher salary.  Deputy Prime 
Minister and Minister for Safety and Emergency Preparedness 
Anne McClelland told Kergin in a separate meeting in November 
that CBSA officers would not be allowed to carry guns.  The 
Consul General advised that the Consulate had received mixed 
signals on this issue over the past year ) we have heard 
that the older officers viewed themselves as civil servants 
and the newer officers viewed themselves more as law 
enforcement officers.  Kergin agreed that the CBSA culture 
was built around collecting duties and that Canada itself had 
to improve its efforts at inspecting cross-border traffic, 
particularly to prevent smuggling of illicit items such as 
guns.  The Consul General suggested that Canada needed, at 
the least, some sort of quick reaction police force to 
support the unarmed CBSA officers in the event of an 
emergency.  Kergin observed that the recent CBSA walk-outs at 
the Detroit-Windsor border wreak havoc with the auto 
sector,s &just in time8 production method. 
 
Future Plans 
------------ 
 
7.  (C) The CG briefed Kergin on the Consulate,s Border 
Liaison Program, which facilitates establishment of working 
and policy-level coordination at each of the border crossings 
between Ontario and the U.S.  She shared with Kergin recent 
traffic summary statistics prepared by the Bridge and Tunnel 
Operators Association and discussed possible future joint 
visits to the major crossings Kergin had not yet seen ) 
Saarnia and Thousand Islands.  She also advised on fora the 
Consulate had found helpful to influence the process. 
Frequent consultation with Canadian Consuls General in 
Detroit and Buffalo - who often have better information about 
the U.S. side of the border, but often lack information about 
the Canadian side of the border - had proven beneficial for 
all, she said.  Kergin and the Consul General agreed 
joint/shared management of the border was a long-term 
objective. 
 
8.  (C) Kergin said he will meet former U.S. Ambassador to 
Canada James Blanchard in early January at the University of 
Michigan in Ann Arbor, to open a table-top exercise on the 
Detroit-Windsor border crossing at the Gerald Ford School of 
Public Policy.  The Consul General advised that she had 
suggested that the Harvard Business School make a case study 
about the DRIC study process.  Kergin said he would also 
travel to Lansing for consultations with Michigan state 
officials.  He noted that, in addition to his border czar 
portfolio, he is forming a consulting company, called 
Intermestic Consulting, which will focus mostly on 
U.S.-Canada relations. 
 
9.  (C) Comment: Kergin is approachable and easy to work 
with.  He will be a useful interlocutor for the U.S. on 
cross-border issues.  We have heard that his appointment was 
not Premier McGuinty,s idea ) rather that his appointment 
was suggested by the federal government - though McGuinty 
reportedly quickly endorsed the idea.  Kergin, who resides in 
Ottawa said he has had really good access to Canadian federal 
officials, though he is not close to the Martin government, 
having previously served as foreign policy advisor to former 
PM Chretien.  We believe he will be able to cut through some 
of the complexity that can characterizes issues that cross 
federal and provincial lines.  Kergin oversees Ray Mantha, 
former Chief Engineer of Ontario, who has built a Border 
Implementation Group within the Ontario Ministry of 
Transportation (MOT) to implement the DRIC.  Mantha, who 
advises Kergin, has also proven to be a valuable interlocutor 
to the Cnosulate.  Mantha divides his time between MOT 
offices in Windsor, London and Toronto, as well as his home 
in northern Ontario.  End Comment. 
 
Kergin Biography 
---------------- 
 
10.  (U) Biography of Michael Kergin follows: 
 
Michael F. Kergin was appointed by Premier Dalton McGuinty in 
September 2005 to act as the Premier,s Special Advisor on 
Border Issues. 
 
Mr. Kergin served as Canada,s Ambassador to the United 
States for five years, from 2000 until 2005. 
His career in the public service began when he joined the 
Department of External Affairs (Foreign Affairs Canada) in 
1967 as a Foreign Service Officer.  His postings include New 
York as a member of the Canadian Mission to the United 
Nations, as well as Cameroon and Chile.  Mr. Kergin also 
served as Ambassador to Cuba from 1986 to 1989.  He was 
posted to Washington twice prior to his appointment as 
Ambassador. 
 
End Kergin biography. 
LECROY 

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