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9/11, the BSE Crisis, and Environmental Management in the Transboundary Plains–Prairies Region

Shannon Bruyneel


As the Canada–US environmental relationship is driven by subnational, regional cross-border relationships, it has been argued that it is only indirectly affected by national differences in other policy domains. Although the Canada–US relationship has long been characterized by the absence of conflict, there are several policy domains in which the stances of the two nations diverge. This paper examines if Canada–US environmental relations in the subnational Saskatchewan–Montana borderland region remain indirectly affected after existing international tensions in other policy domains were inflamed by the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks on the United States and the 2003 BSE Crisis. 9/11 triggered a cascade of changes in the way that borders have been conceptualized and managed around the world, and it led to the implementation of stringent new border security regulations. Although 9/11 was a national/international level event, it has served to “thicken” the border at the national, regional, and local levels. By contrast, the BSE Crisis did not lead to such robust changes to the border and cross-border relationships; however, lingering tensions remain among some individuals and communities on the Canadian side of the border. This paper illustrates how restricted cross-border communication, mobility and cooperation, and eroded trust between international neighbours induced by 9/11 and the BSE Crisis, have been detrimental to formal transboundary grasslands conservation and management efforts across the Saskatchewan–Montana border.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229