Gil Kerlikowske, formerly the top cop in Seattle and Buffalo and now Director of National Drug Control Policy, was nominated in August to head the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency.
Friday’s Maclean’s discussed Kerlikowske’s nomination and the Beyond the Border initiatives. The article notes the challenges of sequestration and the strong Canada-U.S. border experience Kerlikowske–if confirmed–would bring to CBP:
If he successfully acsends to the helm of Customs and Border Protection — a critical federal agency in an era of supposed Canada-U.S. harmony under the bilateral Beyond the Border initiatives — he’ll bring an intimate knowledge of the issues at play at the boundary.
While America’s southern border with Mexico is of greater concern to U.S. elected officials and the White House, the flow of marijuana and other banned substances over the northern border has long alarmed Americans.
Kerlikowske would take the helm of U.S. Customs and Border Protection eight months after what’s known as sequestration — $85 billion in budget cuts to a slew of federal agencies — raised concerns that the Beyond the Border initiatives would consequently grind to a halt. Napolitano, who left Homeland Security last month, publicly warned of long lines at the Canada-U.S. border as a result of sequestration.
But just this week, one of the department’s top-ranking officials said front-line border staffing south of the border hasn’t been overly affected by sequestration.
“We’ve been working closely with our Canadian colleagues in terms of keeping our colleagues aware and informed of any changes that take place,” Alan Bersin said at a Canada-U.S. border meeting in Detroit that wrapped up Friday.
thespec.com also carries the same Canadian Press piece, but emphasizes an area where Kerlikowske “butted heads” with Canada’s former Health Minister over OxyContin regulation.
From thespec.com article:
Under Kerlikowske’s stewardship, the National Drug Control Policy office butted heads with Canada’s former health minister, Leona Aglukkaq, when she refused to ban generic forms of the painkiller once known as OxyContin that are more susceptible to abuse than newer versions of the narcotic.
The office sent out an alert late last year when Health Canada gave six drug companies the green light to begin manufacturing the generic forms of the drug. Purdue Canada, meantime, had replaced OxyContin with OxyNEO, an alternative billed as tamper-resistant meaning it’s more difficult to crush and subsequently snort or inject.