To bear or not to bear arms is the issue plaguing the future of a border crossing between Canada and the U.S. The issue is even more complicated since the Cornwall Island, Ontario crossing is located on the Mohawk territory of Akwesasne.
On June 1, the federal government closed the crossing after the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne refused to give its permission allowing Canadian border guards to be armed in its territory.
Ottawa says there were no plans to reopen the crossing until the Mohawks agree to allow armed guards at the post. Though there has been talk that Ottawa might consider relocating the crossing, nothing official has been announced.
During the 2006 election, the Conservative government made a commitment to arm all border guards across the country. It is a policy the Canada Border Services Agency started implementing the following year, and officers at the Akwesasne crossing were scheduled to begin carrying handguns June 1.
However, this is in direct conflict with a resolution the Mohawk Council passed in Feburary 2008, forbidding firearms to be carried by Canada customs agents on the Mohawk community.
Shortly before midnight on May 31, CBSA officers left their posts. Since then the bridges have been sealed and Ottawa has refused to speak with community representatives.
While the crossing remains closed to the majority of the public, local Akwesasne residents are allowed travel back and forth, as are people who work on the reserve and those on business.
Akwesasne straddles the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, Ontario. Its unique location requires the community to deal with