NDP QUESTIONS MINISTER ON US SEQUESTRATION EFFECTS ON CANADA AND THE BORDER

Border Services

Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre (Alfred-Pellan, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, March break is approaching and many Canadians plan to take advantage of the opportunity to travel. However, the United States have hit a budgetary wall and announced close to $85 billion in cuts. Border services will be the first to be affected, which will increase wait times at the border and in airports.

 

What is the government's plan to ensure that travellers and our businesses and companies do not have to pay the price of the cuts being made on the other side of the border?

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, obviously we have been working very closely with our counterparts in the United States to ensure the free flow of travel and of goods.

 

I can say the efforts and leadership shown by the Prime Minister with the beyond the border plan have already had a favourable impact on the Canadian economy. As the sequestration process goes forward, we are going to keep a close eye on it and will take the necessary actions.

 I can say, having personal experience, having gone across the border, that there has been no unusual delay since it happened.

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the delays are up.
First, the Conservatives were asleep at the wheel when Florida tried to impose new fees on Canadian drivers. Now with spring break around the corner, the U.S. sequestration spending cuts could mean the loss of 5,000 border patrol agents and almost 3,000 inspectors.

 

That is on top of the massive cuts the Conservatives have done to our Canada Border Services Agency. It is a reality. We cut first. Where is the government's plan to mitigate the economic and travel impacts of these cuts?

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, why do the member opposite and his party always take the dim view when it comes to the leadership of President Barack Obama?

 

We have confidence that, as these challenges arise, we can tackle these challenges and we can ensure that the free flow of people and goods continue to go forward.

I have confidence in Barack Obama, and I am surprised that the official opposition is waging a war of words about the president's leadership.

 

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