Monday of last week was my first day back in the office after the announcement by the President and the Prime Minister of the Action Plans for Beyond the Border and the Regulatory Cooperation Council. (I left Washington on Wednesday night and spent Thursday and Friday in Toronto with the press — which is probably worth its own blog.)
One of the things we promised in the action plans is to consult, both formally and informally, with interested stakeholders to get their input on what is in the plans and on our progress in implementing them.
We started last week. The two architects of Beyond the Border and Regulatory Cooperation on the Canadian side, Simon Kennedy and Bob Hamilton, and I had a chance to meet with about 30 members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce at a lunch arranged by Perrin Beatty, the CEO of the Chamber.
We received a great deal of useful feedback. I also found it interesting that Simon, Bob and I all expressed the same view to the group. What we did last Wednesday was to announce plans. While we believe they are excellent roadmaps to lead us to where the Prime Minister and the President want us to go — more trade, thinner borders and a more secure North America — we will only achieve those goals if we get to work and execute. Each of us encouraged the members of the Chamber — and all other interested stakeholders in Canada and the United States — to hold us accountable for results and to hold our feet to the fire in the coming months and years.
In addition to informal events like our lunch last week, we also have more formal processes for collecting input. On the U.S. side, we published a Federal Register Notice on the process inviting interested parties to comment on the Beyond the Border Action Plan. You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-2011-0115, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, by email (BeyondtheBorder@hq.dhs.gov), or by mail (Beyond the Border Coordinator, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mailstop 0455, Washington, DC 20016).
The U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council is planning to hold the first RCC Meeting, with stakeholders from both sides of the border, in late January in Washington D.C. The individual RCC working groups will also hold stakeholder meetings to seek input as they draft their work plans.