Customs union praises Toews’ stance on border

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VIC Toews had an anti-union reputation as Gary Filmon's labour minister in the late 1990s but at least one union is now ready to embrace him.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/12/2011 (3994 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

VIC Toews had an anti-union reputation as Gary Filmon’s labour minister in the late 1990s but at least one union is now ready to embrace him.

The union that represents front-line customs and immigration officers issued a news release Wednesday praising Toews — the public safety minister responsible for the Canada Border Services Agency — for killing a proposal to close or reduce hours of operations of small and remote border crossings.

Jean Pierre Fortin, president of the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU), said he was pleased with Toews’ quick response last week to news reports that a joint task force of American and Canadian officials had targeted several small and remote border crossings.

At the time, Toews told the Free Press there was no truth to the report, adding it went counter to the initiative the government had recently taken to make small border crossings more viable.

A leaked document from the Small Port Working Group within U.S. Customs and Border protection identified 11 small border crossings in Manitoba that are being reviewed and that three of them — Piney, Snowflake and Crystal City — could be closed.

But Toews said on Dec. 16 the closure of small border crossings is not on the government’s agenda.

Ottawa and Washington announced earlier this month the two countries had reached a new border agreement that would enhance security and ease trade between the two countries.

Fortin said the agreement means additional resources will be deployed to enhance the ability of the Canada Border Services Agency to monitor crossings.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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