4 February 2011
"Mr. President, Ladies and gentlemen,
"Today President Obama and I are issuing a declaration on our border. But, it is of course, much more than that: It is a declaration on our relationship.
"Over the past nearly 200 years, our two countries have progressively developed the closest, warmest, most integrated and most successful relationship in the world. We are partners, neighbours, allies and most of all, we are true friends.
"In an age of expanding opportunities but also of grave dangers, we share fundamental interests and values, just as we face common challenges and threats.
"At the core of this friendship is the largest bilateral trading relationship in history. And, since the signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement – a milestone in the development of the modern era of globalization – that partnership has grown spectacularly.
"Not only is the U.S. Canada’s major export market, Canada is also America’s largest export market – larger than China, larger than Mexico, larger than Japan or all the countries of the European Union combined.
"Eight million jobs in the United States are supported by your trade with Canada. And Canada is the largest, the most secure, the most stable, and the friendliest supplier of all America’s purchases: energy.
"It is in both our interests to ensure that our common border remains open and efficient. But it is just as critical that it remain secure, and in the hands of the vigilant and the dedicated.
"Just as we must continually work to ensure that inertia and bureaucratic sclerosis do not impair the legitimate flow of people, goods and services across our border, so too must we up our game to counter those seeking new ways to do us harm.
"And I say "us" because, as I have said before, a threat to the United States is a threat to Canada, to our trade, to our interests, to our values, and to our common civilization.
"Canada has no friends among America’s enemies. And America has no better friend than Canada.
"The Declaration President Obama and I are issuing today commits our governments to find new ways to exclude terrorists and criminals who pose a threat to our peoples. It also commits us to finding ways to eliminate regulatory barriers to cross-border trade and travel, because simpler rules lead to lower costs for businesses and consumers, and ultimately to more jobs.
"Shared information, joint planning, compatible procedures and inspection technology will all be key tools.
"They make possible the effective risk management that will allow us to accelerate legitimate flows of people and goods between our countries, while strengthening our physical security and economic competitiveness.
"So we commit to expanding our management of the border to the concept of a North American perimeter, not to replace or eliminate the border, but where possible to streamline and decongest it.
"There is much work to do. The Declaration marks the start of this endeavour, not the end – an ambitious agenda between two countries, sovereign and able to act independently, when we so choose, according to our laws and aspirations.
"But always understanding this: that while a border defines two peoples, it need not divide them. That is the fundamental truth to which Canadians and Americans have borne witness for almost two centuries, and through our mutual devotion to freedom, democracy and justice, at home and abroad, it is the example we seek to demonstrate for all others."