Cullen demands Blaney intervene to stop Stewart-Hyder border closure

OTTAWA – Today in the House of Commons, MP Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley) spoke directly with Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, repeating demands that the border crossing at Stewart, British Columbia into Hyder, Alaska remain open 24 hours a day.

Beginning tomorrow, the Canada Border Services Agency plans to close the crossing overnight, in what many expect was an effort at cost-saving. “The government needs to understand the importance of this crossing for both communities, which share emergency services and are deeply interconnected, economically and socially,” said Cullen. “Closing the border overnight will have deep impacts on jobs locally. More importantly, this decision could put lives at risk if people are unable to access emergency medical attention or if fire trucks are unable to respond due to a locked border gate. The minister needs to stop nickel-and-diming our communities and jeopardizing our safety and economy.”

In recent weeks, Cullen has been in regular contact with local municipal and business leaders as well as US Ambassador Bruce Heyman and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, and wrote to Minister Blaney on March 16 requesting that he reconsider the closures. Today, Cullen repeated that 24-hour access for emergency vehicles is non-negotiable, and reissued his call for the Minister to postpone the closure.

“The minister needs to put this decision on pause and come back to the table and engage with communities involved towards a sustainable solution for all sides,” said Cullen. “And I’ll continue pressing until he does so.”

 

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