Chamber of Commerce Press Meeting – Mark Holland, MP, Liberal Critic for Public Safety and National Security

A wild meeting today of the Chamber of Commerce here in Cornwall at the Best Western Parkway.  (We’ll be reviewing their restaurant soon)

New Grand Chief Mike Mitchell, his honor Mayor Bob Kilger of Cornwall, and Scott Armstrong of the Cornwall and Area  Chamber of Commerce held a joint press confernce.

Many business leaders were also in attendence to share their concerns about the impact to the bridge closing on the city.  As well many of our City Councilors took time from their schedules to attend and participate.

Notcibly missing was our MP who was in Cornwall, but for some reason was not in attendence as other leaders tried to help resolve this crisis.

Chief Mitchell has agreed to meet with the head of CBSA.   That’s a huge step forward.  I had the opportunity to corner Mr. Holland

, Liberal Critic for Public Safety and National Security and asked him some point blank questions.

When I asked him about considering this a state of emergency situation he suggested that it wasn’t out the realm of possibility based on the economical impact to the area and perhaps even compensation for  the area financially was needed.

He stated that in all of his conversations with the current and past Grand Chief, as well as the MCA in general that they had presented no stumbling blocks to a peaceful resolution and that he in fact felt as frustrated as they did with the current Government’s refusal to dialogue on the issues.

I asked him how he’d respond to t a suggestion that I’d printed earlier regarding a 90 day moratorium on the implementation of guns at the border while talks could be held to help resolve the issue which would allow the border to be open and he stated categoriaclly that he’d support something like that.

Councilor Syd Gardner was very upset about the whole situation focusing on Minister Van Loan suggesting that if this was the private sector he’d be fired.   He was also upset that our MP was not present at this meeting.

Cornwall City Councilor Bernadette Clement said that “We’re survivors here in Cornwall.

and also had concerns about issues behind the scenes that the government wasn’t sharing with the public that were impacting the citizens of this city and riding.

Grand Chief Mike Mitchell wants more local natives trained and employed by Canada Customs at this station.  He said that if any there are usually no more than 1 out of 30 agents at this station who are native and that it has an impact on his community.   He also suggested that CBSA agents should receive training similiar to other law enforcement agencies when it comes to Cultural sensitivity.

“We need to protect the safety of the community first.”  He went on.

Mayor Kilger summed it up perfectily when he talked about the two communities and how well they have got  along and how this needs to be resolved.  He also stressed that if the customs office is to be moved it should be to the foot of Brookdale and not anywhere else.

It was a good meeting and sometimes you have to progress by inches to gain a mile.   I asked several people there about organizing a rally.   I’d like to see a bunch of vehicles and buses head to Ottawa and then travel back to Cornwall and the bridge.

What do you think Cornwall?  Let us know.

Who is more at fault for the bridge still being closed?

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