The hot topic for debate last night was Cornwall City Council discussing sending a message to the Harper Government requesting a drop dead date of June 1, 2010 as an end date for the temporary customs port to end its visit to the base of Brookdale.
Councillor’s Mary Anne Hug and Mark Macdonald led the charge, but were only supported by Bernadette Clement. Many of the other councilors and the mayor supported the principle, but didn’t feel it practical or productive to set a drop dead date.
Council struggled with the definition of temporary. Mayor Kilger called Cornwall an “Implicit Stakeholder” in the crisis. He also shared about meeting Minister Van Loan briefly this week. Kim Baird called the temporary plaze, nicknamed “Check point Cornwall” an eyesore.
The harshest words for the government came from councilor Syd Gardiner. Give ‘Em Heck Syd was quite clear in his position. “At the end of the day the government had until 2016 to arm the guards. Minister Van Loan and Guy Lauzon can sit warm by the fire in Ottawa this winter while residents sit on the bridge.”
Councilor Thibault was a bit more philosophical suggesting that the status quo was better than having the bridge closed.
Speaking of closed bridges the plebiscite were disclosed tonight and according to what we’ve read residents whose opinions were recorded (apparently there’s been some issue over which Akwesasne residents could or couldn’t be heard) voted in favor of a return to the Island for CBSA as long as they are unarmed. We’re still waiting to get more exact details of the results.
The term “discussions” keeps being used in regards to communications between CBSA and the MCA instead of negotiations. Grand Chief Mitchell still supports the idea of mediation, but the Government has not committed to the concept.
We held an informal plebiscite of our own, and also asked a few questions.
What we collected is that the residents of Akwesasne we spoke with had zero interest in CBSA returning to the Island with or without guns.
They suggested that the reporting to CBSA for Island residents returning to the Island be cancelled.
Regarding the security of Akwesasne and the territory between the temporary plaza and US customs it was suggested that a booth or two be used by CBSA in the new US facility so that residents could be inspected before entering Canadian soil. It would be manned by CBSA with no objection to arms as well. Then residents would go through the Plaza when entering Cornwall. That of course would require an agreement between the US and Canada.
There were also suggestions for sensitivity training on par of what the US Home Defense get as well as a liaison team to monitor community issues as they arise as well as the hope of having more native CBSA agents eventually man the border.
That seems like an interesting discussion if the government was serious about resolving this mess.
What do you think Cornwall?
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