The New Security Perimeter with the United States


  • Brian Flemming Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute



After 9/11, several decades of success in building a more open US-Canadian border came to an end due to rising security concerns. To ameliorate this trend, both countries are now attempting to make their border more permeable. This paper attempts to predict how a new security perimeter agreement will be negotiated and what subjects will be covered by any new agreement or series of agreements. Sensitive issues such as privacy, civil rights and harmonization of national regulations, trade and security practices are examined. The paper also deals with the twin problems of the current lack of trust in politicians and governments and the difficulty of getting an agreement before the American presidential and Congressional elections get under way in earnest. The paper concludes with an examination of what the consequences will be if no agreement is reached between Canada and the US on a new security and trade perimeter.


- Mary R. Brooks, North American Perimeter Security: How Best to Keep Trade Moving? Occasional paper by Brooks, William A. Black Chair of Commerce, Dalhousie University, Halifax, 2011.

- Thomas d’Aquino and Michael Hart, “A new start at fixing U.S.-Canada border: Leaders must overcome mistakes of past,” The Financial Post, 8 February 2011.

- Brian Lee Crowley, Trading in Superstitions. Paper based on talk to the National Strategy Forum at the Union League Club of Chicago on 1 February 2011. Published by The Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Ottawa.

- Daniel Schwanen, Seizing a “Window of Opportunity:” How to Improve Canada-US Border Flows. Published by the C.D. Howe Institute, Toronto, 6 August 2011. See paper at

- Brian Flemming, “Fences and Neighbours,” Literary Review of Canada, November 2007, p. 9 et seq.

- Robert Remington, “Note to Obama: Canada is not The Cayman Islands,” The Calgary Herald, 4 June 2011.

- Colin Robertson, “Taking the Canada-US relationship to the Next Level.” Policy Options, March, 2011. Several other useful articles are contained in this same edition of Policy Options.

- Ralph Nader, “Beware ‘deep integration,” Toronto Star Online edition, 27 April 2011.

- Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness: A Declaration by the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada, 4 February 2011, Washington DC






Research Papers