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May 9, 2009 – Rick Comerford, the Regional Director General for the Northern Ontario Region of the Canada Border Services Agency, made the following statement about the arming of border services officers at the Port of Cornwall in Ontario:
“The Government of Canada announced in 2006 that it would arm 4,800 border services officers by 2016 at all land and marine ports of entry. As part of the Agency's national implementation plan, trained border services officers will begin carrying their duty firearm on June 1, 2009, at the Port of Cornwall.
The decision to arm border services officers ensures that they are given the tools they need to improve border security and enhance the safety of officers and the travelling public. Training and arming our officers to respond to potentially dangerous situations helps protect our communities.
Arming our officers does not change their authorities, mandate, duties or responsibilities. Their role remains unchanged — to ensure the smooth flow of legitimate trade and travel while keeping Canada's border secure.
We have set high standards to ensure the safety of the public and our employees. Border services officers are required to undergo rigorous training that is specific to their duties and the realities they face.
The Canada Border Services Agency has been meeting with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to discuss the arming of border services officers at the Port of Cornwall. Most recently, on May 4, 2009, CBSA President Stephen Rigby and I met with the Council to discuss arming and we are committed to maintaining this dialogue.”
For media inquiries:
CBSA Media Relations