The Toronto Star reports today on Congressman Tom Tancredo’s desire to build a wall along the US-Canadian border:
Tom Tancredo’s fence along the Mexican border will cost about $1 million (U.S.) per mile to build, he figures, but the wall he wants along the Canadian border would cost a bit more because of rougher terrain.
In the 61-year-old Colorado Republican congressman’s ideal world, the U.S. is sealed off by walls to the north and south, illegal Mexican immigrants are sent home, would-be bombers stay in Canada, and his country can finally deem itself safe from terrorists and drug-runners.
It may seem absurd on the surface, but it’s not totally fanciful. The U.S. House has already passed a bill okaying the Mexican fence, a proposal an indignant Mexican President Vicente Fox has branded America’s Berlin Wall.
The Tancredo initiative is also a sobering lesson in how Canada can get sideswiped by the increasingly poisonous relations between Washington and its Latin American neighbours in this hemisphere.
I referred to the idea of a US-Canadian border fence or wall in December as “loonie-cy”, and I stand by this statement. Instead of considering a wall, we’d be much better off working with Canada to improve intelligence-sharing and trying to convince them to strengthen their entry procedures and asylum laws. The new Harper government in Canada is likely to be more receptive to these ideas than the outgoing Martin government, and loose talk of a wall can only serve to alienate the new team.
Tancredo’s estimate of $1m/mile for the US-Mexico border fence, incidentally, is lowball; most other estimates for the US-Mexico wall are at $2m/mile and up.