This is almost a week old (things have been busy *grin*), but in case you missed it British Columbians can now apply for Enhanced Drivers Licenses (EDLs) for land and sea entry into the US. Enhanced Identity Documents (EIDs) will be made available for individuals who cannot, or do not wish to, carry a drivers license.
Something that is interesting: To get an EDL in BC will cost you $110 ($75 for a regular 5-year license plus an addition $35 fee); at that price, a passport ($87/92) is cheaper! It seems to me that getting and EDL at that price is just foolish; you still need a passport to fly into the US, and a passport is cheaper if you will both be driving and flying. EDLs (again) come off as a half-assed idea that don’t really accommodate Canadians, but are meant as a passport substitute for Americans who are far less likely to widely travel abroad than Canadians.
A few days ago I posted that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick both might be moving away from EDLs because of their costs and/or privacy issues. While the article discussed the issue was problematic (because of persistent factual errors), it appears as though the author was on target concerning New Brunswick’s concerns with the technology: EDLs will not be coming to my birthplace .
This means that both New Brunswick and Saskatchewan will not be going forward with EDLs, though Alberta. Quebec, Manitoba, Ontario, and B.C. are all going ahead with EDLs. I’ll be curious to see if the rest of the Atlantic provinces follow New Brunswick’s lead, and how this might shape the national discourse on EDLs.
There is a fairly confusing article on EDLs that was published by the Times & Transcript’s Alan Cochrane. It’s absolutely rife with inaccuracies about the technologies about EDLs, which contributes to the rampant misinformation about these identification pieces. Before I get to that, I want to note pieces of information that look interesting, though their accuracy has to be taken as questionable given the sloppy work done throughout the article.
- Apparently the New Brunswick government’s support of EDLs has ‘waned’ after receiving some report or another. While the reporter doesn’t mention the report by name, I have a suspicion that it’s the report commissioned by the Atlantic registrars of motor vehicles that was referenced in the May 9, 2008 press release of the Council of Atlantic Premiers. That report has not been disclosed to the public. (I lack anything that would substantiate or disprove the claim that New Brunswick’s interest has waned; I also don’t know what the report stated and so can’t know if it would influence the government’s position.)
- Service Nova Scotia has stated that the province is looking into EDLs, but as of yet does not have a deployment timeline. (I lack information that would substantiate or disprove this claim.)
- Manitoba is taking applications for EDLs right now, and will begin shipping them in 2 weeks. (This definitely seems on the money, and we can presume that it is accurate.)
- Continue reading
Quebec formally announced that EDLs will be available for Quebecers on Monday, with Jean Charest using a relatively bogus financial argument to support EDLs.* Says he:
“If there are five people, five kids and two parents, if they had to all pay for a passport it would be an expensive requirements for them to come here” (Source)
Not withstanding Charest’s poor math (I count seven people in his ‘equation’), the costs that he is referencing are for the people coming to Quebec, not the costs of Quebecer’s traveling to the US. Were he really concerned about costs, he could adopt the line that the OPC and IPC (Ontario) have been pushing: Canadian’s should have their passport’s subsidized, and the lifetime of these documents extended. Were he honestly concerned about the privacy concerns, he would be pushing passports, not EDLs. Fortunately, of course, Charest is a stanch ‘supporter’ of privacy:
“[Privacy is a serious issue. We believe we need to do what has to be done to protect the privacy of individuals” (Source)