“We need this like a hole in the head.”: U.S. Government Shutdown & the Canada-U.S. Border

The partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government that started today at midnight will not shutdown the Canada-U.S. border.  But there are fears that the shutdown will sap the U.S. economic recovery’s Canadian dividends and border trade.

Critically, the U.S. government shutdown does not impact U.S. port and border security programs.  (But it does impact other not insignificant DHS cross-border activities.)

But the Windsor Star and the Globe and Mail highlight the anxiety the U.S. shutdown is causing economic cross-border stakeholders.

[Note:  It seems concern over a Canada-U.S. border slowdown owes to worry that still-working but unpaid U.S. border staff may not work with their pre-shutdown efficiency.  But, it’s important to note, that during the last shutdown federal workers were given retroactive pay–whether they worked without pay or were furloughed.]

From the Windsor Star:

Marchand said the true impacts of a shutdown have yet to be determined, but added the biggest fear is seeing border trade and traffic come to a halt.

“Our concern of course is a material impact on trade, commerce, tourism,” said Marchand. “Essentially, the flow of goods and people between the border could be adversely effected. Any material shutdown is not something that would be very positive four our region and all of Canada. We have to wait and see what this looks like as it unfolds.”

And from The Globe and Mail:

David Bradley, who represents 4,500 trucking companies as the chief executive officer of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, said it’s too soon to see any impact but he fears shipping companies and their customers that have been saddled with a high Canadian dollar and a slow economy cannot afford any delay in reaching Canada’s biggest trading partner.

“It’s been a struggle for the past few years,” he said. “We need this like a hole in the head.”

Finally, look at the border-thickening concerns voiced by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair:

“Understand that 25 per cent of our whole gross domestic product transits through that border, and look at the thickening of that border as it starts to get more and more difficult to have the administrative papers that go with it,” he said, according to 680 News.


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