The parliamentary secretary to Canada’s Minister of Public Safety says Canadians who have used marijuana legally at home should “be honest and tell the truth” when they show up at the U.S. border next year — even if it could mean being turned away.
In an interview with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos, Mark Holland said Canadian officials have been in “close contact” with their American counterparts about the upcoming legalization of the drug north of the border.
“Remember that the United States has many states that have legalized marijuana, so they’re dealing with this in a domestic context as well,” Holland noted.
“Ultimately the decision that they make is their decision as a foreign jurisdiction … you always have to be honest and tell the truth at the border.”
During a trip to Ottawa in June, Holland added, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly made it clear that his government doesn’t want to throw up additional barriers at border crossings.
“We have every reason to expect that that is the spirit in which this is going to continue and that we’re going to see a thinning, not a thickening, of our border,” Holland said.
In spite of that optimistic outlook, concerns are swirling around Canadians’ general right to privacy as they travel to and from the United States.
WATCH: Few limits on inspections at foreign border crossings
Last week, the federal privacy commissioner raised serious concerns about U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers being permitted to examine computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices, and even demand passwords under American law.
Canada’s border agency, in contrast, has a policy of limiting searches to cases where an officer has grounds to do so – for instance because a phone might contain information about contraband items.
Asked if Canada might attempt to be included under the American Judicial Redress Act, which currently gives citizens of many European countries a right of redress if they feel their privacy has been invaded at the border, Holland would not commit.
“I think it’s fair to say we have a discussion on a wide array of issues,” he told Kapelos. “Anything that impedes travel or trade is a major concern for us.”
Watch the full interview with parliamentary secretary Mark Holland above.
With files from the Canadian Press.