Maine Logging Protest Expands
DAAQUAM, Maine (AP) _ Maine woodsmen expanded their border blockade, protesting what they say is a loss of jobs to Canadian loggers.
The demonstration that began Monday with four pickup trucks at the U.S. Customs station near St. Pamphile, Quebec, was extended Wednesday to a checkpoint at Daaquam and today to a third one at St. Juste.
Loggers allowed everyone except commercial Canadian woodsmen past their pickup truck blockades outside the northern Maine crossings.
Daaquam is about an hour’s drive from St. Pamphile, and St. Juste is about an hour south of Daaquam.
No arrests or violence were reported at the remote locations. State troopers manned the crossings along with Border Patrol agents. The roads being blocked are privately owned.
Canadian loggers were not attempting to enter the blocked checkpoints, said Francis Lacasse, U.S. Customs port director in Jackman.
``They know about the blockades and respect it and they don’t want a confrontation so they are going the other way,″ he said. As for the Maine loggers, he said: ``They aren’t out to hurt anyone physically. They just want to be recognized.″
Demonstrators accuse Canadians of taking Maine jobs through a temporary agricultural assistance program that allows Canadians to apply for U.S. jobs if there are not enough U.S. workers to fill them.
But the timber companies said the reason they need the Canadian workers is because Americans did not apply for the jobs.
The U.S. Labor Department was reviewing the bond that allows the Canadians to work in Maine, said John Ripley, a spokesman for Rep. John Baldacci, a Maine Democrat.