Posted at: 04/23/2013 8:30 PM
Updated at: 04/23/2013 10:14 PM
There's negative reaction on both sides of the border to a proposal to charge Canadians a fee for crossing the border into the U.S.
The proposed fee is mentioned in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security budget proposal, which seeks money to study the possibility of collecting a fee from people crossing the border by vehicle or foot. Details of how the fee would be charged have not been determined.
The Canadian Snowbird Association, which represents 70,000 Canadian travellers, said trade between the two nations amounts to more than $1.7 billion daily.
"While we appreciate the fiscal challenges faced by our friends in the United States we would prefer the U.S. government focus on ways to reduce obstacles at the border that hinder trade and tourism," said Michael MacKenzie, Executive Director of the Canadian Snowbird Association, in a press release.
U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-New York), whose district includes the Niagra Falls area along the Canadian border, questioned DHS Secretary Napolitano about the proposal during a congressional hearing last week. "Putting up economic barriers to regional commerce is the absolute last thing we should be doing to grow the Western New York economy," Higgins said in a letter to Napolitano following the hearing.
At the hearing, Napolitano said officials need to pay attention to the issues of the northern border, including trade and commerce.