Cornwall Ontario – The entrance to the International bridge to Akwesasne and the US was shut down this afternoon after another vehicle seizure.
Reports indicate that after a single person attempted to block the roadway CBSA officials requested that Chief Swamp of the Akwesasne Police Force shut the bridge. This after a warning to MCA officials last night. Perception from a number of people I spoke with at the tent is that an excuse was being looked for to close the bridge.
Cornwall City Police joined by OPP have shut the bridge to all traffic including this reporter. Foot traffic has also been denied access. Reports also indicate that the US side has also closed access.
Word is that CBSA officials from Ottawa are helocoptering in for a meeting at approximately 2:30 PM today to negotiate the bridge re-opening.
Information passed to this paper indicates that pressure tactics are mounting to get the group of residents of Akwesasne to pull down their tent and allow CBSA to return to their station on the island.
We are attempting to confirm all reports. If you have any information; photos, or video contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613.361.1755
“I think that the law should be based on common sense and sound reason. And given the geography of the Mohawk territory compliance would be punitive.
And nothing is as bad as that to law and order as bad laws. Especially ones that single out a single sector of the population and demands of them compliance from them that is more honourus than it is from others.”
We also recieved this in from CBSA in response to yesterday’s seizure of vehicles.
“Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Customs Act, the CBSA is required to ensure that all travelers to Canada report to the temporary port of entry located in Cornwall. These rules apply equally to all travelers.
The CBSA recognized it would take time for frequent travelers and members of the community to become familiar with compliance at the temporary port of entry, which opened on July 13.
That is why, since July 13, we have been clearly and consistently communicating the legal obligation for travelers to Canada to report directly to the Port of Cornwall through:
– Highly visible sign coming into Canada from the US side of the border
– Notifying the Mohawk Council of on September 1 of our intention to begin enforcement of their legal obligation to report at the temporary port of entry in Cornwall.
We have also recently begun a leaflet campaign to ensure travelers were aware of this legal requirement. The leaflet campaign is one of the action items that came out of the CBSA’s discussions with the Mohawk.
At this time, travelers should be aware of their legal requirement to report to the temporary port of entry, before continuing to their destination.
We are pleased that a temporary solution was arrived at to continue to keep the border open.
The temporary port of entry is a short term solution. The CBSA continues to explore options for a long-term solution that advances the best interests of Cornwall.
The CBSA is committed to continued discussions with important stakeholders including the United States, Mayor of Cornwall, business community, the border officers’ union leadership, and the Mohawk.
Priorities include working cooperatively to ensure that all laws are followed, as well as the continued safety of the community, traveling public and border personnel.
Media Spokesperson/Porte Parole
Media Relations/Relations avec les médias
Canada Border Services Agency/Agence des services frontaliers du Canada”
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