CORNWALL – The political climate towards improving Mohawk-CBSA interaction may have improved, but the effects from a recent detainment of an elder has made a turn for the worse.
A small group of Akwesasne protesters again made their presence felt at the Canada Border Services Agency port-of-entry in Cornwall. But before marching from the Cornwall Island crossroads, Pascale Delormier, indicated that her brother-in-law, Antoine, was in the intensive care unit at the Cornwall Community Hospital. Antoine was hospitalized for about one week after a physical encounter with CBSA officials when he went through customs on Sept. 24.
Antoine suffers from severe chest and heart ailments, and it was for this reason that he was visiting the city to seek treatment at the hospital. He had taken part in a similar demonstration three weeks ago, but his health has worsened. Pascale Delormier suspects his deterioration may have resulted from the Sept. 24 incident, for which his family is calling for an investigation.
Protesters had some guarded optimism then, with the federal election just days away, that a change of government would hearken to their calls. They hope in the short-term the CBSA port-of-entry could include an “Indian lane” which existed at the former customs located at the island crossroads. But also, protester Eugene Seymour is hopeful the new federal justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, a B.C. native, will be able to exert her influence.
Saturday’s protest, of about 15 individuals, including a baby in a stroller, were greeted with many honks and shouts of encouragement from motorist along their route and at the port-of-entry.