Living on the St. Lawrence River, have you ever looked across the water at your neighbours in the United States and wondered, “Are we really that different?”
A press release from Ontario Senator Bob Runciman’s office announced that he has formed a cross-border group with New York State Senators Patty Ritchie and Joseph Griffo.
“This initiative will help open new lines of communication and create a chance to explore new opportunities that can benefit both New York and Canada,” Senator Ritchie said.
The group’s formation came in response to a recent incident in local waters where an American fisherman was arrested for “straying” into Canadian waters.
“The incident reminded Senator Ritchie and I how interdependent the two countries are along the border and how important it is to have a regular dialogue to discuss matters of mutual concern,” Senator Runciman said.
Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MP Guy Lauzon has joined Runciman’s group alongside Leeds-Grenville MP Gord Brown, Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark, and Kingston and the Islands MP Ted Hsu. These members, however, were not present for the founding meeting on October 7.
The Leader was able to speak with Lauzon late last week. He told the Leader that “Runciman is taking the lead.”
While he admitted that his “information is somewhat limited” at this point, he did offer the following information: “I’m on the committee. What we’re trying to do is foster better relations between the two border countries and ridings.”
Lauzon referenced the incident with the fisherman as the catalyst to the formation of the cross-border group saying: “We just think if we can open up better communication with both countries at both levels we can eradicate this problem.”
“Northern New York and Eastern Ontario share not just a common border, but face the same challenges and opportunities. It makes economic sense to look for joint solutions,” Runciman said. “And the people in border communities are not just neighbours, but we’re good friends, too. I see this group as a way to reinforce that message.”