The Watertown Daily Times today is reporting that the Canadian government has informed the U.S. government it’s ready to discuss a shared port of entry in Massena. Eighteen months ago MP Guy Lauzon and Cornwall Mayor Bob Kilger met in Massena with Massena Mayor James Hidy and US Congressman William Owens to discuss this issue.
Cornwall - Sep. 1, 2011 - It has been over two years since the Canadian point of entry was closed on Cornwall Island. The Canadian government decided to arm its customs officers in 2009 and that lead to protest from the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation. As a result, the bridge was closed for six weeks until a temporary checkpoint could be set-up in Cornwall.
That temporary checkpoint has been looking more and more permanent over the years. On this side of the border, there has been very little public discussion about a long-term solution. However, the Watertown Daily Times today is reporting that the Canadian government has informed the U.S. government it’s ready to discuss a shared port of entry in Massena.
MP Guy Lauzon, told OurHometown.ca today that eighteen months ago he and Cornwall Mayor Bob Kilger met in Massena with Massena Mayor James Hidy and US Congressman William Owens to discuss this issue. At the time, the group explored four options to resolve the situation: creating a shared port of entry in Massena, making the temporary station permanent, returning to the island or closing down the bridge.
“The four of us agreed that creating a shared port of entry in Massena was the preferred choice,” said Lauzon. “I then passed the information up to the Public Safety Minister and that began the process on the Canadian side.”
Rep. William L. Owens told the Daily Times the following: “A month to six weeks ago, we were notified that the Canadian government had put in a formal inquiry to the (U.S.) State Department. That is the first step in this process. Because it’s going to be located on U.S. soil, the Canadian government made an inquiry, which then starts the process to do a co-location on U.S. soil.”
In his interview with OurHometown.ca Lauzon stated, “We are no where close to a done deal at this point. Both sides have concerns and the discussions continue. The good news is we now have a formalized process and we are moving forward.”
In the Daily Times story, Owens added, “That’s the most significant thing (the Canadian inquiry) that’s happened in this process because it means the governments are actually on it,” he said. “When you send a formal inquiry, you’re not doing that blind, you’ve already had some conversation.”
“It eliminates the potential for us to have another shutdown at the border,” Mr. Owens said. “The Mohawk community likes this idea as well. We really have all three groups behind this idea. The biggest boon to us is it prevents a potential shut down in the future.”
One thing is clear. Residents on both sides of the border are anxious to see this situation resolved. To read the full story on the Watertown Daily Times, click HERE.