The Canadian Press has obtained a RCMP memo discussing NxtGen, revealing the controversial U.S. request the any possible NxtGen crossborder operations ensure U.S. police officers are exempt from Canadian law, even when operating in Canada. While the memo may ruffle feathers in both counties, when read in full, it shows Canada and the United States prudently pursuing border partnership enhancements to bolster both nations economies and security, without compromising vital national interests.
Update: The RCMP Legal Memo story has gotten significant attention. With an stories in the Toronto Star, CBC, and a sternly written National Post op-ed by Matt Gurney. All focus on the memo analysis of a U.S. request that police be exempt from Canadian law when participating in NxtGen and on Canadian soil. Three notable omissions from these articles: (1) discussion of NxtGen’s benefits to border security, (2) consideration on how to successfully implement NxtGen and respect both nations’ sovereignty, (3) pointing out–as the original Canadian Press article did–that Canadian law applies to U.S. customs officials as part of the cargo pre-clearance pilot projects.
RCMP Legal Memo Reveals Canada-U.S. Differences on NxtGen
An Oct. 2012 RCMP legal memo, obtained by The Canadian Press, reveals negotiations between Canadian and U.S. officials over how to implement a new crossborder policing initiative, NxtGen.
[Note: BTBObserver has emailed The Canadian Press for a full copy of the legal memo, and we hope to share the full memo with readers soon.]
The NxtGen, or the next generation of integrated cross-border law enforcement, initiatives “are designed to facilitate cross-border intelligence and information-sharing at and between land borders. NxtGen will also, like Shiprider, authorize designated officers to enforce the law on either side of the border.“
While the The Canadian Press story leads with the U.S. request that NxtGen exempt any possible NxtGen crossborder police officers from Canadian law, a request which the memo views negatively, the articles also makes clear that the memo concluded the RCMP be part of such an initiative–provided this issue be worked out, perhaps by giving Canadian officers get the same immunity from U.S. law.
According to the article’s summary of the memo, current “co-operative initiatives in cross-border law enforcement…have been based on the notion that the laws of the host country apply to illegal acts on its territory and that host-country courts would have jurisdiction… .”
While this memo shows Canadian-U.S. differences on implementing a new crossborder policing initiative, the same report also makes this important observation:
For the cargo preclearance pilot projects, announced in March, Canadian law will apply to U.S. customs officers, said Public Safety Canada spokeswoman Josee Picard.
Digesting the NxtGen Revelations
To me, when fully digested, the article portrays Canada and the United States firmly committed to finding binational solutions to crossborder issues, binational solutions that enhance each nation’s economy and security–without sacrificing sovereignty.
Stated differently, Canada and the United States are prudently but aggressively pursuing border partnership that puts the interests of both nations’ citizens first.