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Cablegate: New Brunswick Deputy Minister Discusses Border, Premier

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. SUMMARY: New Brunswick Deputy Minister for
Intergovernmental Affairs, Jim McKay, traveled from Fredericton
to Halifax recently to meet with CG to discuss issues related
the border as well as to seek suggestions for appointments for
Premier Lord's upcoming trip to Washington. END SUMMARY.

2. New Brunswick Deputy Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs
Jim McKay said that food shipments to Campobello Island during
winter months remained a problem. (FYI and Comment: Campobello
Island is a part of New Brunswick accessible most months of the
year only by traveling through the U.S. Its situation in this
regard is similar to that of Pt. Roberts, WA. The island's
residents have claimed for some time that tightened U.S. border
controls have made it difficult to stock the island's only store
and have effectively cut off the island from the rest of the
province. Our understanding was that an arrangement had been
worked out locally for this "enclave" to receive needed
shipments for the store, but McKay said that this had not worked
well over the winter. End FYI and Comment.)

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3. McKay also expressed concern about the provisions of the
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, saying that for many
border communities in Maine and New Brunswick a passport
requirement would significantly curtail commerce, tourism and
daily exchanges of all sorts. His comments were similar to
those that we have heard from other border provinces. We told
McKay that the language of the WHTI allowed for other acceptable
documentation, and encouraged him to make New Brunswick's views
known -- perhaps jointly with Maine -- during the rulemaking
public comment period.

4. Regarding border infrastructure, McKay noted that New
Brunswick had upgraded to four lanes the highway from Woodstock,
NB, to Houlton, ME, the point where Interstate 95 reaches the
Canadian border. McKay said that a significant number of people
had registered for FAST but that there was no infrastructure on
the U.S. side yet for it to be used.

5. McKay also noted that Premier Bernard Lord was planning a
trip to Washington May 20. He hoped to see Senators Collins and
Snowe of Maine, as well as senior executive branch officials to
discuss the border and to plead Atlantic Canada's case on
softwood lumber. We made a number of suggestions for meetings
and appreciate comments from colleagues in Ottawa and Washington
in this regard. (COMMENT: To the extent that it is possible to
accept Lord's requests for meetings we would urge USG agencies
to do so. He is intelligent and well-spoken, an advocate for
better cross-border relations and is likely to be a force in
Canadian politics for years to come. Many identify the young,
bilingual Lord as a potential leader of the Conservative Party
at the national level. END COMMENT.)


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