Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Proposed border fee 'not going to happen,' says congressman

OTTAWA -- A U.S. congressman said Canadians should not be overly concerned about a proposed border crossing fee, saying it just isn't going to happen.

OTTAWA -- A U.S. congressman said Canadians should not be overly concerned about a proposed border crossing fee, saying it just isn't going to happen.

Democratic representative Brian Higgins, who is from the border city of Buffalo, N.Y., told CTV's Question Period on Sunday that he has a lot of allies in the U.S. Congress who will stop any legislation that includes a fee.

Higgins, who is a member of the Homeland security committee, has been a vocal critic of a proposed feasibility study on a border fee since it was spotted last week buried deep in the department's 2014 budget.

New York Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat, has also spoken out in opposition.

The Canadian government said it would lobby against such a fee.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Higgins said there is sufficient political opposition to stop any such fee in its tracks.

"I'm telling you, it's not going to happen," Higgins said. "The early indications are that both Democrats and Republicans oppose it, and any new fee would have to get by both the House of Representatives, of which I am a member, and also the United States Senate, which Senator Schumer is a member. I'm going to fight this very very aggressively and I have a lot of allies."

In testimony two weeks ago, Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano noted that fees that support processing more than 350 million travellers a year have not been adjusted, in many cases, for more than a decade. It was unclear in the proposed budget item how the fee would be collected or what it would cost.

But Higgins said any additional impediment to Canadians travelling to the United States is a false economy.

In his home town, the damage would be considerable.

He said neither the Sabres NHL franchise nor the NFL Bills would exist in Buffalo, considered a small market by American standards, if not for the fan base in southern Ontario, many of whom cross the border to buy tickets for home games.

As well, "25 to 30 per cent of our retail economy is the Canadian shopper, so we're looking to expand cross-border movement, not stifle it," he said.

What To Read Next
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.
The Grand Forks Blue Zones Project, which hopes to make Grand Forks not just a healthier city but a closer community, is hosting an event on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Empire Arts Center from 3-5 p.m.
A bill being considered by the North Dakota Legislature would require infertility treatment for public employees — a step that could lead to requiring private insurance for the costly treatments.