Fri August 24, 2012
Canadian Consulate to maintain smaller presence in Buffalo
The Canadian government says it will maintain a consular presence in Buffalo, even though the downtown Consulate in the HSBC Tower is slated to close.
Senator Charles Schumer says he has been in contact with government officials, trying to get them to reverse what he calls a "poor decision." Around 75 people worked on two floors in the tower. The Consulate's immigrant section closed in June.
While its still on track to close next week, Schumer says Foreign Minister John Baird has agreed to keep a consular presence in the Queen City through a smaller liaison office.
Schumer says the move will help mitigate the negative impact of the closure, by maintaining access and resources for local businesses. He calls it a significant victory for businesspeople, who won't be 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. 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,” said Schumer, in a news release.
“While the closing of the Buffalo Canadian Consulate is unfortunate and, we believe, short-sighted given the importance of CanAm trade and tourism in our binational region, we are encouraged that the Canadian government appears to have recognized the importance of maintaining some presence here,” said Buffalo Niagara Partnership president & CEO Andrew Rudnick.
Details including staffing and hours are still being worked out.