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U.S. budget proposes $5.50 fee for Canadian travellers Add to ...

As it struggles to rein in a massive deficit, U.S. President Barack Obama's administration is looking to squeeze revenue from every possible source - including Canadians.

The President's proposed 2012 budget, released publicly this week, suggests charging Canadians $5.50 to enter the country by air and sea to help pay for security checks and inspections at the nation's airports.

The small fee, which does not apply to people crossing land borders, is already charged to most international travellers to the United States, but a 1997 exemption allowed travellers flying in from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean countries to avoid paying the levy.

The money would likely be gathered through airlines and would show up on airplane tickets.

The budget, so far, is just a draft, which must be approved by Congress. If enacted, it would cover the period from October of this year to October, 2012.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is proposing the rule change, says it could collect about $110-million as a result, which would help offset the more than $300-million increase in its requested budget.

The extra revenue, however, would be a mere drop in the bucket next to the more than $1-trillion funding shortfall projected in the budget documents, a consequence of recession-era stimulus spending and financial bailouts, among other things.

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