Cross-border shopping elicits a lot of attention from the public, the media and politicians. In many cases, people are exhorted to stay in Canada, not to shop in the U.S. and to be patriotic.
There is nothing wrong with such calls, but they often fall on deaf ears. Cross-border shopping is a fact of life, particularly in communities that are very close to the border. The high Canadian dollar and the close proximity of the U.S. border to almost one million people in the South Fraser and Fraser Valley regions mean there will always be some cross-border shopping.
A number of Black Press newspapers in this region are putting together this section — not to tell people what to do, but instead to provide our readers with more detailed knowledge about a number of facets of cross-border shopping. We don’t have all the answers, but our reporters did some up with some very interesting information.
We believe that if people have more knowledge about cross-border shopping and the issues surrounding it, they will make more informed decisions. It is in the best interests of all of us who live in this region to have as strong an economy as possible, and that’s why we have gathered together this information.
Many years ago, I worked for what was then called Canada Customs, working at three of the five Lower Mainland border crossings. I have plenty of firsthand knowledge of the factors that influence Canadians to cross the border for shopping, and for that matter, what attracts Americans to Canada.
Some things have changed. It’s not as easy to cross the border as it used to be — passports or other secure information are required. But some things have not changed very much. The lineups are long today at busy times, but they were often just as long 35 years ago.
We hope that all our readers gain some useful information from this section.
To find these stories, check out The Times’ business section online and look for stories headlined Border Towns.