Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Just days ahead of the planned closure of the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced that Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird has heeded his call and will keep a permanent consular presence in the city in order to provide critical resources to western New York businesses and to offer expertise in cross-border management.
In June, following news of the Canadian government’s plans to close the consulate, Schumer urged that the Canadian government reverse its decision to close the Western New York consulate or at minimum to mitigate the damage of such a closure and commit to establishing at least some consular presence in Western New York.
Schumer said that according to the country’s policy makers the consulate’s closure is imminent due to budget cuts in Canada, though the senator added that even a smaller presence in Buffalo is still a significant victory for the region and could prevent upstate businesses from being forced to travel to New York City for consular services.
“Given the fact that the Canadians have failed to reverse their unwise and counterproductive decision to close the consulate, securing boots on the ground to facilitate cross border commerce and more is a very positive result,”Schumer said. “The fact that the consulate will have a continued presence in Buffalo is great news for preserving our trade and border relationship with our neighbor, and for promoting job growth and economic activity here in western New York.”
Schumer, who chairs the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, strongly opposed the closure of the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo and personally called Foreign Minister Baird in June to urge that Canada reconsider the potential closure of the Consulate.
“I was extremely disappointed that Canada suddenly and mistakenly closed their Buffalo consulate, and I immediately pushed Canadian Foreign Minister Baird to establish at least a smaller part-time presence here - I’m thrilled that he has heeded my call,” he said. “This plan will be both cost-effective and will have enormously positive impacts on cross-border cooperation and commerce, as this plan allows Canada to work within its budgetary constraints to provide similar services to residents, businesses and border officials in Western New York, while using fewer resources.”