(Quebec) Quebec City Airport could get these days the center of US pre-clearance in the context glamor of the visit of the Canadian Prime Minister to the White House.
This is the opinion of Raymond Chretien, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, the government of Quebec has hired as a negotiator for obtaining US pre-clearance facilities at the international airport Jean Lesage and Central station Montreal.
Sun in a telephone interview Wednesday, Mr. Chrétien was confident to see the subject of the pre-clearance personally discussed by Justin Trudeau and US President Barack Obama, or else their respective ministers and senior officials. All these people trying to increase the fluidity of borders safely. Specific projects could be cited.
“I am hopeful that they could designate the Jean Lesage Airport in Quebec as one of the new areas of possible pre-clearance between the two countries. Which would be great news for the City of Quebec, “says Mr. Chrétien on the line.
According to him, the issue of Quebec is solid. “The team of Quebec has done a terrific job,” said the negotiator, applauding both the quality of the presentation and the “will to move forward.” On the other side, the Americans had a “good response” to the application of the Quebec capital.
“This visit, it is timely. There is nothing better to move a file that when two great monks, the two heads of government decide that it’s worth it, “says Christian, who represents the provincial government since October.
As for competition with Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto, who also wants the center of pre-clearance, the former ambassador to minimize. “Vis-a-vis the Americans, we must never go piecemeal, we need to agree between us. We need the Canadian government decides what preclearance area will support it, “he said, without putting pressure on the Liberals. “They are intelligent, politically astute, they will probably want to ensure that the two most important provinces in terms of population are happy,” suggests Mr. Chrétien.
Although new pre-clearance centers are confirmed soon, the work will not be finished as long, warns the Quebec negotiator. The US and Canadian governments will adopt their separate laws to ratify the agreement. Already, a step was taken last week in the United States with the filing of a bill making employees subject to US customs laws of the United States, even when they are posted in Canada.
Similarly, it will revisit arms of the port, the power of arrest and many other operational details, said Mr. Chrétien.
Cost sharing must also be reviewed. Currently, nine centers of US preclearance installed in Canadian airports were built and equipped at the expense of the hosts. This is unlikely to change and the Quebec airport has reserved at least $ 30 million for this purpose. The new building is adjacent to the current expansion of the international arrivals side.
But operating costs, including salaries and living expenses of customs, will be re-discuss. “Life has changed, it’s expensive, all that,” says Mr. Chrétien, who expects a sharing of standardized model for all countries where the United States pre-clearance.
It will also devise a formula for stations and perhaps even ports that could become part of the system.
Late in the interview, Raymond Chrétien recalls that it is not part of the discussions in Washington next hours and still remains an unexpected hand in these bilateral meetings. The designation of the Quebec City airport remains to be confirmed. “This is the realm of the possible, the probable, but not certain”, he summarizes.
In a center of preclearance, passengers pass through US Customs at departure rather than arrival or stopover, making their spare time. Once in the US, they can immediately retrieve their luggage or take a correspondence without further hassle. For airlines, it is also an advantage, because they can go in US airports without customs and shorten the transit time between flights.