Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

NAFTA, Economic Integration, and the Canadian-American Security Regime in the Post-September 11, 2001 Era: Multi-Level Governance and Transparent Border?

Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly


Did the traumatic event of September 11, 2001 lead the central governments of Canada and the United States to "re-center policy" because their executive roles had to be reaffirmed in matter of security? Or, did free trade and economic integration, in particular, frame the process of functional interdependency to determine the current security regime spanning the Canadian- American border?

Despite the security threat, functionalist theories imply that cross-border co-operation stems from economic integration. In contrast, the urban political economy literature suggests that intra-regional competition is the key factor, but the security agenda may transform this functional nature of the Canadian-American border. Neo-functionalists might qualify the general functionalist argument by pointing to the importance of supranational institutions and policy spillover suggesting that federal governments would increase co-operation and expand the role of supranational security agencies. The intergovernmentalist approach in international relations, on the contrary, suggests that states protect their frontiers and their monopoly over international links, and thus, enhance border control policies. Finally, because of economic integration and a bicentennial tradition of discreet diplomacy, the security threat may lead to the implementation of a North American multi-level governance border security regime; such a security regime spans the border involving a multitude of agencies of both nations. It comprises the vertical federal intergovernmental networks, but also, the horizontal networks across the international border. The evidence presented in this paper suggests that economic interdependency frames the post 9/11 Canadian-American border security regime, which multi-level governance explains best.

Full Text:


All rights reserved
Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229