North American Union ID Old Idea; New Sales Pitch

Brent Jessop
Knowledge Driven
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Every Canadian and American entering or exiting the US across land will soon have to carry a passport. This has led to panic among Canadian officials because of fear of a total collapse of trade and tourism across our shared border. Amongst all this panic and confusion the US government has graciously extended the implementation deadline to June 2009.

But no need to worry. Our indispensable bureaucrats have come up with an ingenious new solution. A fancy high-tech drivers license complete with biometric data, RFID chip and more data then you could imagine all linked to a single database. Wow! Aren’t they clever to come up with such a timely solution?

Well, not really. This is an old idea with a new sales pitch.

Way back in the pre-bin Laden days of 1998, Ontario wanted to “replace drivers licenses and health cards with a single computerized smart card, capable of storing vast amounts of information about an individual” complete with fingerprints, patient's treatment history, doctor's phone number, other health data, driving record and a “computer chip”. Even before this, Alberta and BC had rejected similar plans.

The real purpose of the 1998 smart cards was to facilitate “a better flow of information between databases. The main ones in government would be in health, transportation and the registrar's office" said Jeremy Adams a communications assistant for the Ontario Health Ministry.

To this end, “some of the behind-the-scenes technologies to be used to implement a smart card plan will be incorporated into some health care pilot projects that will start soon in Hamilton, Kingston, Chatham, Paris, and Wawa.” Also some smart cards were to be tested in the Mondex experiment in Guelph, Ontario which were to record transaction data including where and when services were accessed. The Mondex smart card test in Guelph was actually cancelled but performed elsewhere and originally came to Canada from the UK in 1995.

So was the justification back then identity theft or protection from terrorism?

The government believes one of the biggest benefits for users will be the ability to update information through a single agent, rather than filling out several forms at several different offices.”

Convinced you need one? But there was one other clever selling point for this new smart card revealed in an internal government memo:

“The registration process for the public must be communicated clearly. In particular, to address the situation of the read-and-white cards with no expiry date and a Health Card for people without Drivers Licenses. It should be made clear to the public that their cards will remain valid until they are called by the government for re-registration and issued a new card”

Great! Now I am sold. Only one government form forever! All I need to remember is my fingerprint.

Joking aside, when the US ambassador to Canada David Wilkins says things like:

"The question is, will enhanced driver's licences be ready to go and the technology ready to be implemented by the time the land portions are implemented? We have to wait and see."

He is lying. Simple as that. This whole farce about the need for passports to enter the US is just a smokescreen for implementing a North American ID card under the cleverly named Security and Prosperity Partnership. Is it a coincidence that the US government is forcing the exact same high-tech single database RFID chipped drivers licenses onto their citizens under the Real ID Act?

Despite token Canadian resistance to a National (or North American wide) ID card, the idea is being embraced by the likes of federal minister of public safety Stockwell Day. Of course, for our safety, ease of border crossing, etc., etc.

I guess the former Canadian Immigration Minister Denis Coderre summarizes this article (and a lot of other problems we have) best:

"The government won't have any choice, because at the end of the day it [the national ID card] will be imposed by international standards."



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