News of job cuts leads to fear of border slowdowns, undermines deal with U.S.

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By The Canadian Press

In December, the Conservatives announced a perimeter security deal with the United States designed to speed the flow of trade while beefing up protection against terrorist threats.

[OTTAWA, ON] — Union leaders say border wait times could go up if the federal government follows through with hundreds of job cuts.

Over 1,100 people at Canada Border Services Agency have been given notice that their job is on the line following last month's federal budget.

The agency was told to cut its budget by $143 million over the next three years.

Public Service Alliance of Canada President John Gordon says if all those jobs go, it's going to slow down services.

And the spokesman for the union representing border guards says the cuts contradict the government's commitment to border security.

Jean-Pierre Fortin says his union is planning to disclose further details about the impact of the cuts at a news conference today.

In December, the Conservatives announced a perimeter security deal with the United States designed to speed the flow of trade while beefing up protection against terrorist threats.

But Fortin says the planned cuts undermine the emphasis placed in that deal on intelligence-led border security.

A spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews wouldn't comment on the impact on border security.

In an e-mail, Julie Carmichael says the government is focused on the economy, and the cuts save taxpayers' money while maintaining the safety of Canadians.

And she says border services is modernizing to save money at headquarters while making front-line services more efficient.

Organizations: Canada Border Services Agency, Public Service Alliance of Canada President, Conservatives

Geographic location: United States

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