A temporary Canada-U.S. border crossing in Cornwall is creating concern for residents who would like to see a permanent crossing established.

The current border—established two years ago—is located near Lamoureux Park. It connects Cornwall to Massena, N.Y. and bridges the Aboriginal community of Akwesasne to both cities.

The original border was located in Akwesasne but Mohawk protesters refused to allow Canadian border guards to bear arms on the land, forcing the government to move the crossing.

"People who are from the outside come to work and they leave," said Akwesasne Grand Chief, Michael Mitchell. "They know nothing about the community. They know nothing about the ancient culture and traditions."

Due to the security stalemate, close to two million vehicles must squeeze through the makeshift border every year.

"It's not ideal," said Steve MacNaughton of the Canada Border Services Agency. "We're cognizant of the fact that this is an interim point-of entry."

The federal government is considering four long term options:

  • Shut the border down
  • Move back to the station in Akwesasne
  • Keep the crossing in Cornwall
  • Move it to Massena, N.Y.

Currently those coming from the U.S. must check-in with Canadian officials before heading home, primarily to prevent contraband cigarette smuggling.

The Akwesasne Mohawk Council supports moving the crossing to Massena, N.Y. But the CSBA says the issue will likely take years to resolve.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua