- The Washington Times - Friday, June 17, 2005

A coalition of civilian volunteers in the United States and Canada yesterday said it has begun the first stages in developing internationally supported citizen patrols along the U.S.-Canada border patterned after the Minuteman Project in April in Arizona.

The American-Canadian Conservative Coalition, in concert with Minuteman Project organizer Chris Simcox, said it is preparing for its first vigil along the border in Michigan, south of Ontario, and is actively working to expand the watch to every state and province along the northern U.S. border.

This first project will be called the Michigan-Ontario Minuteman Border Neighborhood Watch.

“Our Canadian neighbors have been very supportive of helping us encourage citizens, and civic organizations of both countries to be more informed and involved to help us protect the brotherhood of nations on the American and Canadian border,” said Art Roselle, a founding American member of the new coalition.

Matt Ford, founding member and the coalition’s Canadian co-chairman, said, “Canadians are committed to working with our American brothers and sisters on common issues and projects. We are honored to do our part to help make sure all border crossings between our two countries are safe and legal.”

Coalition officials said the group was formed as a citizens watch organization that will actively promote, influence and strengthen common moral, political and economic issues. They said it grew out of “a common mission to address issues that are of import to both countries.”

“With the Minuteman Project forming on the southern border of the United States, we realized that northern border issues are just as important, and the fact that we have the support and participation of Canadian citizens is very exciting to us,” said Karen Mastney, a coalition spokeswoman.

“It is a ‘common ground issue’ to us that we watch each other’s backs,” she said.

Ms. Mastney told The Washington Times that several U.S. and Canadian citizens met recently in the Detroit area to discuss common border issues and decided to seek advice from the Minuteman Project.

She said U.S. Coast Guard officials in the area, who already patrol vast areas of the Detroit River, which separates Detroit and Windsor, Canada, have indicated a desire to work with the coalition.

John Mailloux, the coalition’s founding member, said Canadians are “very reliant on the United States for a great deal of our commerce, protection and just being good neighbors,” and it seemed “like our duty to work together to strengthen our borders and address issues of import to both our countries.”

The coalition’s first Michigan-Ontario Minuteman Border Neighborhood Watch meeting is scheduled for July 12 in Windsor, where the group will announce its primary goal to recruit and train more than 5,000 members and begin the campaign to implement its plans to expand its number of trained members to 15,000 across the entire U.S.-Canada border.

A larger rally planned for August, coalition officials said, will cap a monthlong recruitment effort to attract citizen volunteers on both sides of the border.

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