Security. Cooperation. Governance.

The Canada-United States Open Border Paradox

Subjects: Political Science, Governance, International Relations
Paperback : 9780472055715, 232 pages, 1 table, 3 figures, 6 x 9, October 2023
Hardcover : 9780472075713, 232 pages, 1 table, 3 figures, 6 x 9, October 2023
Open Access : 9780472903054, 232 pages, 1 table, 3 figures, 6 x 9, October 2023

The open access version of this book is made available thanks in part to the support of libraries participating in Knowledge Unlatched
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Reveals Canada–US border and security policies vary drastically depending on regional needs

Table of contents

1: Introduction
Christian Leuprecht, Todd Hataley, and Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly
2:  British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest
Benjamin Muller, Laurie Trautman, and Nicole Bates-Eamer
3:  Alberta and the Northwest
Jamie Ferrill, Geoffrey Hale, and Kelly Sundberg
4: The Prairies and the Midwest
Todd Hataley, Christian Leuprecht, and Alexandra Green
5: Ontario and the Great Lakes
Todd Hataley and Christian Leuprecht
6: Québec and the Eastern Seaboard
David Morin, Stéphane Roussel, and Carolina Reyes Marquez
7: Atlantic Canada and New England
Kevin Quigley and Stephen Williams
8: The Territorial North
Heather Nicol, Adam Lajeunesse, Whitney Lackenbauer, and Karen Everett
Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, Todd Hataley, and Christian Leuprecht


Historically, national borders have evolved in ways that serve the interests of central states in security and the regulation of trade. This volume explores Canada–US border and security policies that have evolved from successive trade agreements since the 1950s, punctuated by new and emerging challenges to security in the twenty-first century. The sectoral and geographical diversity of cross-border interdependence of what remains the world’s largest bilateral trade relationship makes the Canada–US border a living laboratory for studying the interaction of trade, security, and other border policies that challenge traditional centralized approaches to national security.

The book’s findings show that border governance straddles multiple regional, sectoral, and security scales in ways rarely documented in such detail. These developments have precipitated an Open Border Paradox: extensive, regionally varied flows of trade and people have resulted in a series of nested but interdependent security regimes that function on different scales and vary across economic and policy sectors. These realities have given rise to regional and sectoral specialization in related security regimes. For instance, just-in-time automotive production in the Great Lakes region varies considerably from the governance of maritime and intermodal trade (and port systems) on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, which in turn is quite different from commodity-based systems that manage diverse agricultural and food trade in the Canadian Prairies and US Great Plains.
The paradox of open borders and their legitimacy is a function of robust bilateral and multilevel governance based on effective partnerships with substate governments and the private sector. Effective policy accounts for regional variation in integrated binational security and trade imperatives. At the same time, binational and continental policies are embedded in each country’s trade and security relationships beyond North America.

Christian Leuprecht is Class of 1965 Distinguished Professor in Leadership at the Royal Military College of Canada and Director of the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations in the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University. 
Todd Hataley is Professor in the School of Justice and Community Development at Fleming College.

“This book makes the case that a border is not a uniform dividing line between sovereign states but a series of interlinked channels between distinct communities. It is a unique piece of scholarship that demonstrates how border policies related to security, immigration, and trade are tied to regional preferences, mediated by federal and binational policymakers.”

- Laura Dawson, Executive Director of the Future Borders Coalition

“This book presents a richly detailed picture of the border between the United States and Canada. It makes clear that we can have trade and security at the same time. Policymakers will want to refer to this book for evidence that if we approach the border in a smart way, if we dedicate adequate resources, and if we use technology creatively, the United States and Canada can stay safe, secure, and economically competitive.”

- David Jacobson, Former United States Ambassador to Canada

“I found Security. Cooperation. Governance. The Canada-United States Open Border Paradox to be exceptional in presenting a compelling view of the dynamic cross-border regional cooperation and collaboration that impacts border security, policy, and culture across the US–Canada border.”

- Matt Morrison, Executive Director and CEO of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region

"Taken together, the contributions to this volume offer an account of a specific form of international relations in which cooperation is not stymied by contradictory interests or uneven commitments, but by a tension inherent in a collaborative project. This volume serves as a thoroughly informative corrective to state-centric reflexes that might produce zero-sum thinking that both countries are interested in avoiding."

- Daniel Troup