Liberal MP Public Safety Critic Mark Holland Critiques Seaway International Bridge Crisis and New Minister Vic Toews – by Markus Noé – Cornwall Ontario, January 29, 2010

Liberal MP Public Safety Critic Mark Holland Critiques Seaway International Bridge Crisis and New Minister Vic Toews – by Markus Noé – Cornwall Ontario, January 29, 2010

Liberal Critic, Critiques Bridge Issue 

Since late last spring Cornwall residence and businesses have been victimized by the ongoing border dispute. This issue was ignited when the Government of Canada decided to arm all of its border guards. The Cornwall Port of Entry is the only border crossing in this country that resides on a native reserve and this is where the problem lies. The natives of Akwesasne argue that it is their right to chose if they want armed border guards on their reservation, and they have made it clear that they don’t want armed guards.

The natives also express a fear for their safety as there is a belief that the border guards are racially profiling them. The former Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan decision on this issue was to leave the negotiations up to the CBSA.  

There has been no action by the federal government on this issue now since late summer. Then last week a glimmer of hope was presented to Cornwallites as Van loan was shuffled from his position as Public Safety Minister and is now the Minister of International Trade. Like the rest of the media outlets in this community the Cornwall Free News attempted to talk to the new Public Safe Minister Vic Toews. Unfortunately he was unavailable for comment, the reason being that he is still too new to this portfolio to make an informed statement.  

The Cornwall Free News decided to talk to Member of Parliament Mark Holland who is the Liberal Public Safety Critic. It is his job to shadow the Minister of Public Safety and to comment when he believes a mistake as been made. When asked his thoughts on how the Liberals would handle this issue Holland said, “we have been trying to get a third party mediator in to resolve this issue. This situation is something that should have never occurred and could have easily been avoided.” 

Holland’s frustration with the governments inactivity this issue is evident when he said, “the government has sat on the sidelines and fanned the flames.” Local businesses especially in the downtown area have noticed a significant drop in revenue since the border dispute began. Holland believes that the Conservatives have turned their back on this riding when he said, “they essentially abandoned Cornwall and left the city in a tough economic situation in an already tough economic time.” 

For more information on what Mark Holland thinks about this situation he can be contacted at, hollam0@parl.gc.ca. To get in contact with Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and see if there has been any new developments he can be reached at V@parl.gc.ca 

What do you think Canada?  Post your comments below.

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grimalot
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grimalot

You know, I am under the belief that the government is trying to fan the flames. Its the only logical reason I can see for this inaction on the bridge issue. Tick off the natives, get them to uprise, then point the fingers and try to garner votes from the people that are mad at the whole situation stemming from the island. Some will tell me this is a conspiracy theory and it may be. But I am not surprised if this is whats happening. While all on the dime of the taxpayers/businesses/citizens of this riding. How much longer will… Read more »

Stan
Member
Stan

The Conservatives haven’t abandoned Cornwall, nor have they left the city in a tough economic situation, after all, Guy Lauzon is still here!

Stan
Member
Stan

If they can spend over $88 Million on a casino renovation, let them pay for their own bridge!

sigfus451998
Member
sigfus451998

I am not pleased with federal politicians leaving these problems with the bureaucracy of the Canada Border Services Agency. Treaties were agreed to in earlier years when Canada needed such for peace and order, nation to nation. That the natives people have become diminished in size relative to the larger nation of Canada does not diminish the worth of these treaties, nor of the responsibility of both sides to abide by those treaties. Good government, on both sides, would recognize the value of these treaties and work towards maintaining them. Leaving the dimunitive nation to deal with bureaucrats, no matter… Read more »

Destructo
Member
Destructo

Just another example of how parliamentary democracy fails its’ citizens. Our local politicians are useless to us, they only serve their party. Guy Lauzon is a puppet on the end of Stephen Harpers’ strings. The Natives have been screwed long enough, from the original treaties which are now largely ignored, to the residential schools, to the sub-standard living conditions they are often forced to endure, not only here but across the country. This once quite populous and proud nation has been reduced to pocket sized communities scattered across their former land, begging the government for scraps. We are the oppressers.

PJ Robertson
Member
PJ Robertson

Isn’t it clear that Lauzon is AWOL on this? Guy’s talents stretch only as far as passports, photo ops and hand clapping…a stand-up comic without knowing it.

Eric
Guest
Eric

The Conservatives were elected with a platform to arm the Border staff, this is not new. How about one law for all Canadians that is enforced.

NSSherlock
Guest
NSSherlock

One factual error in this article is the statement that Cornwall is the only reserve to house a border station. Walpole Island reserve in ONT also houses a border station for the Algonac Ferry. (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/contact/listing/offices/office1002-e.html) Some of the officers there are armed, and it doesn’t seem to have caused any problems. As for the continued brou-ha-ha over this situation, I still do not understand. Akwesasne is a sovereign nation – they didn’t want CBSA in the first place – they definitely didn’t want them armed – they say they have the sovereign right to dictate affairs in their nation –… Read more »

Stan
Member
Stan

NSSherlock, you have said it for all to understand. If they don’t get it now, they never will!

bobgeneric
Guest
bobgeneric

NSSherlock I am sure the CBSA office is at the Sombra ferry dock and I am pretty sure this is not on the reserve. The reserve is not actually an island, no international bridge runs across it and the reserve is parked firmly on the Canadian side and does not have the Can/US border running through the middle of it. ~ So explain to me why it is that Akwesasne residents should have to report to the CBSA in Cornwall when returning to the Island from the US side of the border? Who are the Natives that are pointing these… Read more »

Gerry Healing
Guest
Gerry Healing

Mark Holland is making a bit of play for free press. He was advised early on in this dispute about sensitive papers (hit lists and sources of intelligence), uniforms, hard drives, video… and much more left behind in CBSA’s rush to leave. He did pretty much nothing …and up to now nobody else has talked about the materials that fell into unauthorized hands. CBSA may have been a good idea but it is peopled by old school bureaucrats that are more interested in, reclassifications, pay increases, sick leave and vacation than being professional peace officers. It’s a mind numbing repetitive… Read more »

bobgeneric
Guest
bobgeneric

Gerry, I don’t think old school bureaucrats are the problem. I think that it is actually the younger newer generations of officers that have grown up in a world where our Law enforcement has become more tactical and combative in nature and where all civillians are suspects, the us and them attitude. Somewhere we have let our Law enforcement agents forget who they work for, we have given them a pass to trample on our civil rights.

bobgeneric
Guest
bobgeneric

Admin are you being demeaning and flippant or funny? Right me off as a paranoid cynic, who watches too many cop shows if you wish, but the reality is warrants served in the middle of the night by tactical squads is now the norm not exception. We have effectively militarized our Police, turning them into soldiers not keepers of the peace. Go to Google and search “militarization of police” and research it yourself…..there is probably a story to report if that’s what you are into. ~ To expand on the trampling of rights; to deny this is dangerous, as we… Read more »

grimalot
Guest
grimalot

Hey bob, welcome 🙂 Glad to see you here.

bobgeneric
Guest
bobgeneric

“The good news is that it’s not as bad here as in the US….yet. The bad news is that this current government has a group in it that willingly is racing to a more police run type state.” You may think this but as someone that has worked parallell to armed security and tacktical squads where having a sniper riffles and qualified snipers on the team is normal every business and this was not in the US. This creeps in slowly without notice and should be cause for concern. ~ I do agree with you about uninvolvement of citizens and… Read more »

bobgeneric
Guest
bobgeneric

grimalot thanks for the welcome. I noticed you don’t comment at the freeloader much anymore. Too bad although we disagreed on issues and have differing opinions I always considered you one of the sane ones!
Any time two people agree on everything one of them is nolonger nessesary

grimalot
Guest
grimalot

I have said it many times bobgeneric, we may not all agree, but we all need to make our voices heard. Otherwise there is apathy being brewed, which is what I am against. No matter what ones opinion is, other people are being made aware. Keeping in mind of course that whatever someone posts is open to other opinion and response. Yeah, I don’t post much on the SF anymore, I don’t appreciate a paper that keeps on cutting off commentary and such on issues that matter to the people. This is why I like the CornwallFreeNews, it will not… Read more »