UPDATED – The Bridge Crisis – Seeing Through The Smoke – UPDATED

UPDATE August 19 10PM.

I confirmed some facts with Corporal Blair Kelly of the RCMP’s Proceeds of Crime Division out of Kingston this afternoon.

In the case of the Escalade, about $8,000 was confiscated and is still with the RCMP.   Essentially what Corporal Kelly explained is that if funds  such as these are concealed they can be held.

The RCMP conducts their investigation and if they feel the proceeds are from crime present their findings to a judge.  The party(s) charged have a chance to present their defense as well and then the judge decides if the money is in forfeit or not.

This can be a lengthy process.  The other confiscation of money involved about $7,500.00.  Two alleged Marijuana ciggies were also confiscated.   These funds have been returned and all parties held Wednesday were released.

Maybe CBSA and the RCMP aren’t Caddy fans?

I printed a story last week about a Cadillac Escalade being detained by CBSA.  It was originally reported to contain cigarettes, but has since been released with no tobacco related charges.     The driver however was detained nearly 12 hours and their money confiscated by RCMP that were called to Cornwall from Kingston.

The story was covered today in the Standard Free Holder. ( L I N K ) We’d been waiting for confirmation of certain information from the Kingston RCMP who have yet to return the call and from the MCA.

What we’ve gathered is that there were 4 separate parties/vehicles detained by CBSA last Wednesday, the 12th of August.   Some of the people for as long as 12 hours and one couple allegedly held in a Van (although with the AC on)

This resulted in a group of about 20+ people coming over from the tent to protest.   Eventually all parties were released with no charges, however there are now complaints pending against CBSA.

I asked Michael Harvey of the local RCMP why the Escalade Driver’s money was retained or an issue as it was less than $10,000.    When you cross the border you have to report if you are travelling with more than $10,000 or face fine and/or charge.

While not giving out specifics about this case he said that if during an inspection a large amount of money is exposed the officer could ask why the party had that money and that under Proceeds of Crime & Terrorist Financing Act the person could have an issue.  In this case the money was impounded after the Kingston RCMP were called in to investigate.

There are many issues at the bridge right now.   For instance when crossing, residents of Akwesasne are asked where they are coming from as the CBSA wants to know if they are residents of the NY state portion of the Reserve.

They are not getting clear answers by many people who don’t acknowledge the border or feel this process shouldn’t be applied to them which of course causes tensions for all parties.

Sometimes ignoring issues leads to effects such as this.     This bridge crossing is temporary and is creating problems in addition to the core issues that caused it to come into effect.  Until some of these issues are negotiated and resolved; and a permanent site agreed on there probably will be more.

During my interview with Elizabeth May we discussed the Bridge Crisis and Lorraine Rekmans sent me this statement.

“We support the Mohawk’s position to keep the border guards unarmed. But the real issue at the heart of all this is the Mohawk territory, Mohawk sovereignty and Mohawk right to self government. The Green Party respects other governments and we must exercise diplomacy in dealing with them.

The Mohawks deserve the respect of meeting with Canada to resolve their

issues. Closing the border was not a solution by Harper, it was a tactic.

The Green Party would respectfully meet to discuss and resolve issues with any other government.

Yours truly,

Aboriginal Affairs Critic of the Green Party of Canada”

In other news, supply of cigarettes to Cornwall from the Island seem to have dried up as demand from Montreal Area Native Smoke shops have eaten up supply.   As well lay offs at the Native cigarette factories have been reported.

The initiative to enforce on the water recently announced seems to be having some impediment on the traffic across the river.

Prices in Montreal are over $1000 per case of 50 bags(carton equivalent) and going up.

What do you think Cornwall?  Post your comments and let us know.

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