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Obama and Harper sign agreement to move Customs to Massena

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Obama and Harper sign agreement to move Customs to Massena
It has been a long time coming, but it looks like the Canadian and United States governments have reached an agreement that will see the Customs office at the Corwnall Port of Entry move to the American side. The Beyond the Border Agreement, signed by President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday, includes a provision for Canadian preclearance operations at Massena.

Cornwall - December 9, 2011 - It has been a long time coming, but it looks like the Canadian and United States governments have reached an agreement that will see the Customs office at the Corwnall Port of Entry move to the American side. The Beyond the Border Agreement, signed by President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday, includes a provision for Canadian preclearance operations at Massena.

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.

In September, MP Guy Lauzon, told OurHometown.ca 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.”

Those discussions have now concluded with the signing of this agreement. It is expected that negotiations will need to continue to hammer out the details. Construction on the new low-level bridge is well under way.

For more info on this breaking story, see the Massena Courier Observer.


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