Is it any wonder why the Americans distrust Canadian security? Like many other things over the last 13 years, the Liberals have made many promises, spent a lot of money and accomplished little or nothing. When National Intelligence Director John D. Negroponte says that they've been keeping a special eye on Canada, he's not kidding.
Walking the line
In a test run last summer, the FBI's 10 most wanted failed to appear on Canadian border agents' data bases, he said.
And the incident late last month at a crossing in Blaine, Wash., where Canadian officers stood down in the face of automatic weapons-toting border runners from the U.S. side, is far from the only case of emergency refusal.
Days later, reports that a young kidnapping suspect armed with an M-16 could be headed towards an Ontario crossing from Michigan had a similar effect, said Lupien.
Even if they'd stood their ground, their instructions are to allow the offenders through and call for police backup.
But in some sections along the vast, serpentine frontier strip, police can be hours away, says Lupien.
Nine police stations that could support their border brethren in Quebec were closed 11/2 years ago, he adds.
Unguarded roads crossing the international boundary number more than 200.
When the union complained about the lack of proper computer hookups in 45% of the 119 U.S.-Canada gateways, a dial-up system was supplied, said Lupien.
"The connections are so slow, they're useless," he says.
That, and the lack of intelligence, has prompted a number of embarrassing moments that at least ensure Canadian guards are on friendly terms with their U.S. counterparts.
"The guys call the U.S. customs across the border asking 'can you guys run this information through?' " says Lupien.