Following the United States’ budget operations is not normally something that Canadians pay attention to, but the formal order for sequestration will be affecting the lives of both Americans and Canadians quite deeply.
Sequestration is an across-the-board government spending cut, where many government agencies will have to cut about $85 billion from their budgets from now until October. President Obama officially ordered the cuts on Friday, March 1st.
While problems with the United States economy can affect Canadians somewhat directly and indirectly, sequestration will affect Canadians quite directly.
For example, crossing the border to do some shopping will be much more difficult – border agencies will have to make massive staff cuts, leading to waits to cross the border that could increase by hours.
Some United States air traffic control centres will have to close, resulting in the cancellation of certain flights that will eventually effect Canadians, while the pre-clearance centres at airports for United States customs could be closed.
Customs services will be reduced by up to 8,000 jobs, which will affect businesses both here in Canada and in the United States, causing both people and goods to cross the border with much less ease.
In addition, Canadians companies with federal contracts in the United States could lose those contracts, which are extremely lucrative.
According to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Canada may not have worked out a plan with the United States to make these cuts go smoothly, while the head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives has said that nothing will go untouched.
Sequestration was originally put on the table last year to force Congress to come up with a compromise, but the deadline has passed. However, the cuts could be stopped in the next few weeks by President Obama and Congress if they reach an agreement.
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