Thursday, August 6, 2020


Albany Times Union: Canada threatens U.S. boaters with fines, severe penalties and possible boat siezure if they stray into the Canadian side of the St.Lawrence River where it separates New York and Quebec.

Sadly, this is also an issue when U.S. boaters stray into waters on the Canadian side of The St.Lawrence River where it separates New York and Ontario Canada. 

The Canadian O.P.P Went Nuts on the Fourth of July
Living on Wellesley Island during the Great Pandemic of 2020 we thought it was a great idea to hop in our little C-Dory and circumvent the island, it was a beautiful day, one that beckoned us to get out of the house and head for the river. We even thought we might begin a long tradition for future Fourth’s. Our great American idea, however, was trashed soon after we began our trip by Canada’s Ontario Provincial Police – the O.P.P.
Once away from our dock we traveled north around Mary Island, located at the extreme downriver end of Wellesley Island, adjacent to Westminster Park. Traveling toward Lake-of-the-Isles is a narrow section made even narrower if you consider the international boundary bisects the river at this point. 
 Red circle shows where we were ~ Hill Island is a Canadian Island. Wellesley Island is US
There were many other boaters heading toward Lake-of-the-Isles. Most were close to the border and a few over the border. All the boats were U.S., since few Canadian boaters used this section on most days and on this special holiday, all the boats were American revelers.
One of the many boats in bottle-neck section of the river was an Ontario Provincial Police boat filled with uniformed police. It traveled by us and pulled over a pontoon boat loaded with Americans.  We were dumbfounded! We saw the O.P.P stop the boat and knowing that our trip required us to travel an extremely narrow channel, The Rift, between Wellesley Island and Canada’s Hill Island, we opted out of our trip. We knew from past experiences that Canadian law enforcement had the power to confiscate boats and gear and arrest violators of their waters. Rather than risk losing our boat, we axed our holiday trip around Wellesley Island.

Figure 1.  Pontoon boat NY registration near midchannel and border.
 OPP vessel making its approach.

As we turned around, we saw the O.P.P continuing to pull boats over that were close to the border and we wondered if this would make the local news. This was an example of something crazy since those pontoon boaters were not heading to Canadian waters for illicit purposes but were traveling to U.S. waters to relax and celebrate the Fourth. If the issue was protecting Canadians from Covid risk, OPP officers were not wearing masks. The O.P.P., by picking a narrow section of the border that is mostly used by U.S. boaters, they were targeting Americans for no other transgression than getting too close to the border. They were operating the river equivalent of a speed trap, although the trap was not about speed. It was about some Canadian officials who wanted to make a statement regarding Americans, and they decided to do it on our birthday.

Figure 2. During close-contact check of New York boaters, OPP officers were not wearing masks.

Clif Schneider &
Kathryn Muschell
Wellesley Island, NY

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Nick Hillary's civil rights case, and how it links to a broader moment of reckoning

Aug 05, 2020 — It’s been three years since Nick Hillary was found not guilty in the murder of 12 year-old Garrett Phillips in Potsdam. The trial gripped the region. Now, Hillary is pursuing a lawsuit of his own, against the law enforcement officials who charged him with Garrett’s death. 

 Hillary claims police violated his civil rights, in part because he’s Black. The case resonates with new urgency amidst a nationwide reckoning over policing and race.
Continue reading via this link to NCPR