End the obsession over licence plates

Article content

Our obsession with Quebec licence plates during this pandemic has officially entered the ridiculous, and needs to stop.

While this was never a big concern at this desk, it’s been curious to watch the obsession build— almost from the moment we were all sent home in March, the complaints started arriving about people seeing vehicles with Quebec licence plates being driven through their communities in the area, or parked in parking lots.

A licence plate isn’t a definitive determinant of where someone lives and works, or a surefire sign the driver and/or other occupants are rule-breakers, or infected with COVID-19 and on some malicious tear. The data — then and now — doesn’t support this as a dominant method of acquisition or transmission.

More On This Topic

  1. The terse note that Akwesasne resident Lila Lazore found on her car windshield the other day in Cornwall. Handout/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network

Handout Not For Resale

    Go home Quebecers!...but what if they're residents of Akwesasne?

  2. A Quebec driver makes his or her way through Lancaster, on Tuesday April 7, 2020 in Cornwall, Ont. Francis Racine/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network

    Quebec/Ontario border traffic talk held at high levels: McDonell

  3. According to SDSG MP Eric Duncan, most residents of Akwesasne coming to Cornwall do so in order to attend grocery stores or do other shopping. Photo taken on Friday April 24, 2020 in Cornwall, Ont. Francis Racine/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network

    Sight of New York licence plates shouldn't be worrisome, says Duncan

This was an obsession that was always going to hit home for the Akwesasronon who live within Akwesasne Mohawk Territory in Ontario, Quebec, and New York state. The ugly, racist notes left on some vehicles in commercial parking lots in Cornwall last week is proof of how far this silly obsession has gone.


Story continues below

Article content

Yes, racist— whether the note refers to “those people” from Akwesasne, or “those French-speaking people” from Quebec. It’s us vs. them thinking, couched as paranoia of people from “away” causing COVID-19 spread. We could be just as worried (and again, the overall risk is minimal when crossing paths with someone in a store) about those who have Ontario licence plates indistinguishable from those with Cornwall or SDG addresses— but they’re not as easy to target.

These people live and/or work in our community, or turn to the services available here that are closer and more convenient. No different than when those of us who live here travel to Vaudreuil, or Montreal, or Ottawa, to access things we can’t or prefer not to get here.

The bigger threat to us all is that visiting vehicle, regardless of licence plate, parked in a residential driveway, its inhabitants playing loose with recommendations to stay within your own household. This is where most who’ve caught COVID-19 acquired it.

Akwesasronon have the legally protected right to cross the international and provincial borders our governments drew through their homeland. For a great many of them, Cornwall is where they must come to access health-care services, and other essential goods. There aren’t adequate choices to meet these needs within their own community, and millions are spent within this city’s economy as a result, to our benefit.

The easiest way to snip this odd obsession in the bud? Stop obsessing over licence plates in our parking lots, and focus on risky behaviours.

That’s what spreads this virus.



News Near Brockville

This Week in Flyers