Two articles over the weekend highlight cross-border stakeholders’ frustration with progress on the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) and the Beyond the Border (BtB) Action Plan.
Steve Mertl‘s Friday article for the Daily Brew emphasizes the lack of urgency from the United States, which is understandably must jostle competing important national priorities. Chatting with cross-border stakeholders ranging from Queen’s University professor Christian Leuprecht to the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Canada Institute associate Andrew Finn, Mertl concludes that–whatever the deficits in American attention–Canada must push forward on BtB initiatives for there to be any hope for the initiative’s lasting success. (One some complaint: Still unsure if the final border expert noted is Stefan Sinn or another Sinn… .)
On the other hand, the Canadian Press‘s Sunday article by Alexander Panetta offers up a possible solution to the impasse: a hackathon. Chatting with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Adam Schlosser and McKenna Long & Aldridge’s Maryscott Greenwood, Panetta lays out how a hackathon, which would bring together techies and other experts with the motivation of a prize, could help spur “simplified inspection processes; a new order of priorities for what should be inspected; where best to allocate border personnel; and using information technology to help vehicles cross at the most convenient spot.”
The articles make clear that there are stakeholders on both sides of the border that see the value of improving upon an already very successful bilateral relationship.
But when it comes to institutionalizing attention and continuous improvement to the Canada-U.S. partnership, perhaps an older idea would be best. Robert A. Pastor has suggested the U.S. President “designate a national adviser for North American affairs, who would chair a cabinet-level committee to formulate a comprehensive plan and to help the president negotiate the difficult tradeoffs between special interests and national and continental interests.”