The DUI issue recently came up at a press conference held at the North Country Chamber of Commerce to discuss the economic relationship between the United States and Canada. It was a cheery affair, complete with resplendent hope for co-operation and the economic growth of both countries. Companies will transcend the border, jobs will be created and we’ll all live happily together.
But there's a hitch. If a company from Canada is built in Plattsburgh and requires its workers to be trained in Canada, those who can't cross the border are out of luck.
There are ways around this, but the process can take up to a year to complete. To simply apply for an application to be granted entry can cost between $200 and $1,000, and there is no guarantee you will be allowed into Canada afterward.
In some corners of the North Country, there is some animosity toward Canadians. It’s been mentioned in editorials throughout the region, and it was brought up at the chamber meeting. Perhaps making it easier to get into the country would be a logical first step to improving understanding for one another. Both countries would benefit from easier access, not only in tourist dollars, but in terms of the newly proposed job growth, too.
We are not trivializing the seriousness of drinking and driving, but it does seem prudent for Canada to begin rethinking its “no tolerance” policy. It will only serve to strengthen the ties between two countries whose ties are already strong. Drawing the line at felonies is a better way to keep the criminals out while still allowing those of us who have made a mistake to get on with our lives and get into Canada.