ARCHIVED - Canada and the United States discuss border and law enforcement-related issues at the 12th Cross-Border Crime Forum in Ottawa

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO, March 2, 2012 — The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; the Honourable Vic Toews, Canada's Minister of Public Safety; the Honourable United States Attorney General, Eric Holder; and the Honourable United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano met at the 12th Canada–United States Cross-Border Crime Forum today to advance discussions on border and law enforcement-related issues.

The Cross-Border Crime Forum is a joint effort of Public Safety Canada, the Department of Justice Canada, the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Homeland Security. It brings together senior officials from law enforcement and justice organizations in Canada and the United States to address transnational crime issues such as organized crime, counter-terrorism, smuggling, economic crime and other emerging cross-border threats. Of particular interest at this year's Forum was progress being made on the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan, announced in December 2011.

 “Our Government is pleased to work with our U.S. counterparts to combat cross-border crime,” said the Honourable Rob Nicholson. “Ongoing cooperation between our countries allows for the most effective investigation and prosecution of crime when criminal activities cross our border.”

“The Forum remains an excellent opportunity for Canada and the U.S. to advance cooperation in the areas of law enforcement, criminal justice and intelligence,” said Minister Toews. “Our Government is focused on the economy and creating jobs, and I am particularly pleased with the progress being made on initiatives announced under the Beyond the Border Action Plan.”

Cross-border law enforcement is one of the four pillars of the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan. Canada and the United States are moving ahead on commitments to deploy Shiprider operations on a regular basis and to implement two land-based (“Next-Generation”) pilot projects this summer. As discussed at today's Forum, the positive experience with the Shiprider pilot projects, Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETs) and Border Enforcement Security Teams (BEST), has clearly demonstrated that working together significantly increases our ability to combat crime at the international border.

Keeping citizens safe from terrorism is a key priority for Canada and the United States. The Action Plan committed both countries to continuing to collaborate to address threats, including terrorist threats, before they reach our shores. Officials discussed Canada's recently announced Counter-terrorism Strategy: Building Resilience Against Terrorism.

“Our productive discussions today at the Cross Border Crime Forum go a long way toward advancing a key pillar of the Beyond the Border initiative that President Obama and Prime Minister Harper signed last year: integrated law enforcement that adds value to our relationship by leveraging shared resources, improving information sharing and increasing coordination of efforts, while ensuring the safety of the citizens of both our countries,” said Attorney General Holder.  “I am grateful to our Canadian counterparts for their indispensable work to combat exploitation, abuse, and violence; and to strengthen the critical ties that bind our nations together. With the signing of this important memorandum, we signal a renewed commitment to the goals and values that our nations share to prevent and combat human trafficking.”

“With today's agreement, we have taken an important step forward in our efforts to stop human trafficking and smuggling,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We will continue to work with Canada to further enhance information sharing and integrate our cross border law enforcement operations, strengthening the national and economic security of both our nations.”

Canada and the United States have long engaged in discussions on information sharing related to national security, and in the Action Plan committed to further improving information sharing, while respecting each country's respective constitutional and legal frameworks. The Cross-Border Crime Forum remains a key vehicle in advancing information sharing for law enforcement purposes and this conversation continued at today's Forum.

Minister Toews, Attorney General Holder and Secretary Napolitano today signed, on behalf of the RCMP and the United States' Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, a Memorandum of Understanding that will enable Canada and the United States to more effectively work together to combat human smuggling and trafficking.

Bilateral meetings were also held between Minister Toews and Secretary Napolitano, Minister Toews and Attorney General Holder, and Minister Nicholson and Attorney General Holder—demonstrating continued efforts between Canada and the United States to work together to address security issues.

The next Canada–United States Cross-Border Crime Forum will be held in Washington in 2013.

For more information, please see:

Media Relations
Department of Justice

Julie di Mambro
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Office of the Press Secretary

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