Cornwall, ON, Jul 09, 2009 — Mohawk leaders and Canadian officials came close this week to an agreement Mohawks say would have opened the international bridge near Massena. The bridge is on Cornwall Island, which is Mohawk territory. It's been closed since June 1, stopping cross border traffic between Massena and Cornwall Ontario.
Mohawks continue a peaceful protest against Canada's plan to arm guards at the border crossing there. In a press release late yesterday, Mohawk Council Grand Chief Mike Mitchell detailed how the plan would have opened the bridge provisionally, while a long-term settlement is worked out.
Under the temporary deal, unarmed border guards would work with other police agencies, including Mohawk police and possibly the RCMP. But the agreement quickly fell apart when the union representing the border guards said they will not go back to Cornwall Island, with or without guns.
According to the Watertown Daily Times, union President Ron Moran wants Canadian Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan, who oversees the border agency, to keep the Cornwall-Massena crossing closed until the situation is completely resolved.