POLITICS

Ben Carson Calls For Some U.S. Troops On Canadian Border

12/15/2015 04:02 EST | Updated 12/15/2016 05:12 EST
WASHINGTON — A U.S. presidential candidate has called for troops to be positioned along the Canadian border, as the American election becomes consumed by national-security fears.

Republican Ben Carson says he wants soldiers and national guard stationed along the Mexican border — and at certain unspecified spots along the Canadian border.

It's one of his Seven Steps to a Safer America, released Tuesday. Others include formally declaring war against ISIL, restrictions on visitor visas, establishing a refugee safe zone within Syria, and investigating the group Council on American-Islamic Relations.

ben carson

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at an event in Phoenix. (Photo: Matt York/AP Photo)

"President Barack Obama and Congress should immediately deploy the National Guard and military troops to patrol the U.S. southern border as well as designated spots along the northern border," said proposal No. 6, without elaborating on where troops might be stationed along the so-called world's longest undefended border.

Carson does not currently lead in any of the early-voting primary states. He's in fourth place nationally in an average of polls of Republican voters, compiled by the site Real Clear Politics.

He enjoyed a brief moment as a potential frontrunner, just over a month ago. But his support collapsed around the time security came to dominate the conversation, with the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.

The retired neurosurgeon was mocked for his allegedly loose grasp of foreign policy, including his method of pronouncing the name of the militant group Hamas — which from Carson's mouth sounded a bit like the chickpea dip "hummus."

National security is now the No. 1 concern of American voters, according to polls. That fear is evident in media like the wall-to-wall coverage Tuesday from some networks of schools being closed in Los Angeles following a bomb threat.

The Canadian border has, so far, escaped the attention of the U.S. media fear factory.

There have been exceptions. One was a Daily Beast article this week that focused on the possibility of a terror threat from Canada — and pointed as evidence to one security expert who cited the growing number of hijabs he saw in Canada.

Also, before he dropped out of the race, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was asked by a journalist about building a wall along the northern border with Canada and he appeared initially to be considering it.

Such talk makes Canadian policy-makers nervous: Security measures adopted more than a decade ago, after the 9-11 attacks, continue to impact trade and cross-border traffic

The countries have been looking at ways to ease the border backlog, by screening people at checkpoints away from the actual frontier. That plan has yet to be approved by Congress and Parliament.

The Canadian embassy refrained from commenting Tuesday — just as it declined comment on the Walker remarks.

Canadian public officials' statements on the 2008 presidential primaries caused trouble for then-candidate Barack Obama, who was telling voters he planned to renegotiate NAFTA. Canadian statements casting doubt on his sincerity are believed to have cost him in at least one state, and led to a government investigation within Canada.

The federal government appears determined to avoid a 2016 repeat.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and some members of his cabinet seemed to be chiding Donald Trump's proposed Muslim-visitor ban — but they spoke in general terms, and none referred to the candidate by name.

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