Representatives of governments in Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States are urging the U.S. government to delay the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. This initiative will require all air and sea travellers to the U.S. to have passports by Dec. 31, 2006. The same requirement comes into effect for those entering at land border crossings by Dec. 31, 2007. The legislators, who are members of the executive committee of the Council of State Governments’ Eastern Regional Conference, are asking that other documentation or passport substitutes be considered. Murray Scott, Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly and conference co-chair, said all representatives agreed on the issue. “We believe in secure borders, but we believe this measure will have a negative impact and slow down the flow of goods and people.” The Canada-U.S. border relationship is a special one, with more than 300,000 business people, tourists and commuters travelling between the two countries every day. The value of goods crossing the border is more than $1 billion a day. The executive committee will forward its resolution to Prime Minister Paul Martin, as well as to the federal ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Foreign Affairs. It will also be forwarded to the President of the United States, the U.S. Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security. The executive committee of the Council of State Governments’ Eastern Regional Conference is comprised of elected and appointed officials from the 10 northeastern states (Maine to Delaware), the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec. A total of 44 members attended the Oct. 21-23 meeting, including the president of the national Council of State Governments, Delaware governor Ruth Ann Minner.