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Cablegate: Campobello Island Residents Feeling Cut Off

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HALIFAX 000012

SIPDIS

FOR WHA/CAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PBTS PREL PTER PGOV ETRD CA
SUBJECT: CAMPOBELLO ISLAND RESIDENTS FEELING CUT OFF


1. Regional press and politicians have begun to focus attention
on the plight of the 1450 residents of Campobello Island, New
Brunswick. This small a small Island in the Bay of Fundy is,
from September to July, accessible from Canada only via a bridge
to Lubec, Maine. During the summer a private ferry connects
Campobello Island to New Brunswick's Deer Island and mainland
New Brunswick, but there is no ferry service the rest of the
year. Prior to September 11, Campobello Island residents say
that they enjoyed virtually unhindered access through Maine to
New Brunswick, but since then, they claim that increased U.S.
security concerns have left them practically captives in their
own homes.

2. The Islanders complain that new procedures, especially under
heightened alert situations, have been slowing the movement of
people and goods. Last month the complaints reached a new level
when new U.S. bioterrorism regulations were implemented and the
residents complained that U.S. border officials had opened their
Canadian mail as it passed through the U.S. en route to
Campobello. Canadian postal officials subsequently reported
that they had worked out an arrangement with DHS whereby the
U.S. authorities would not open Canadian mail unless there was a
suspicious item.

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3. The latest issue that is gaining both media and political
attention is the future of the Island's only grocery store. The
store has escalating problems with availability of supplies and
is headed for bankruptcy and closure if it cannot find a way to
keep its shelves stocked. Conservative MP Greg Thompson who
represents the Island constituents in the Federal House of
Commons has been the focus of several media reports, especially
with his proposal that Canadian customs officials pre-check all
deliveries to Campobello Island. According to Thompson, that
way, no matter what the level of the U.S. alert situation,
Canadian supplies would still reach Canadian citizens without
U.S. authorities delaying shipments. New Brunswick Premier
Bernard Lord and his senior bureaucrats are also putting the
issue high on their agenda and have confirmed the seriousness of
the situation with the grocery store and have asked us to
intercede.

4. COMMENT: This issue came up during CG's recent trip to New
Brunswick. We don't have all of the facts, but the outline
seems pretty clear, and the islanders' situation has only been
exacerbated by the Canadian and U.S. BSE cases, which have
closed U.S. and Canadian borders to each other's beef. END
COMMENT.

HILL

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