As you may have heard, recently, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) has proposed changes to the hours of operation of two Minnesota ports of entry; Roseau (South Junction, MB) and Lancaster (Tolstoi, MB).
Just a few weeks ago, hundreds of concerned residents from both sides of the border attended public meetings held in both Lancaster and Roseau to voice their concerns to representatives from the CBP. Those representatives promised to review their decision which is scheduled to be implemented on January 7, 2018.
While there are no plans as of yet to match these changes on the Canadian side of the border, these changes to the hours of operation on the U.S. side will seriously impact Canadian travellers.
The Lancaster border crossing is located on Highway 59, just south of Tolstoi, and connects southern Manitoba with northern Minnesota. The current daily hours of operation for this port are 8am – 10pm. The proposed changes would see the closing time change from 10pm to 4pm. This would severely impact a very large number of travellers, adversely affect commercial traffic between the two countries and negatively impact local businesses in Minnesota that rely on Canadian tourism and retail spending. Those wishing to enter the United States after 4pm would be faced with a very long detour to Emerson.
The Port of Roseau, currently operating from 8am to midnight, would see the hours of operation changed to 8am – 8pm. This would have similar negative economic impacts to the changes being proposed in Lancaster, but would additionally impact the unique long-standing agreement on the provision of health care services between Canada and the United States. Many Manitobans residing in the southeast corner of the province rely on medical services provided in Roseau in both emergency and non-emergency situations.
On behalf of our constituents, my provincial and municipal colleagues (whose constituencies also run along the border) and I have written to the acting Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency in Washington D.C. to express our concerns regarding the change in hours of these two ports of entry. The other signatories to this letter were: Cliff Graydon – MLA for Emerson; Dennis Smook – MLA for La Verendrye; Reeve Greg Janzen – Rural Municipality of Emerson-Franklin; Reeve Wayne Anderson – Rural Municipality of Piney and Reeve Jim Swidersky – Rural Municipality of Stuartburn. In this letter we requested that the decision to change the hours of operation at these two ports of entry be reversed, so that the free flow of traffic can continue as residents on both sides of the border have come to expect.
If you would like to also lend your voice to this issue, I urge you to contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the addresses below:
US Customs and Border Protection – Lancaster
4151 Hwy 59
Lancaster, MN 56735
Phone: (218) 762-4100
US Customs and Border Protection – Roseau
41967 State Hwy 310
Roseau, MN 56751-8002
Phone: (218) 463-2054