The Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce is demanding some answers from the federal government, and local MP Guy Lauzon on changes to cross-border shopping rules.
The chamber, in a statement issued Friday, says it was surprised to learn that the federal budget included rules for increasing the limits on goods being brought into Canada.
"The most startling aspect was that Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MP Guy Lauzon is quoted as saying 'That was one of the suggestions that came from our riding,'" reads the chamber statement.
Chamber president Rick Shaver said the move by the federal government flies in the face of encouraging people to shop locally.
“By encouraging people to shop across the border, it literally takes money out of the pockets of business owners, their employees, and their families,” said Shaver. “We are not sure how Mr. Lauzon came up with this idea or if he considered the impact it would have on our community.”
In an interview Lauzon said it had been "20, if not 30 years" since the regulations concerning cross-border shopping had been updated.
He added with millions of peple returning to the country from vacations, business trips and the like, lines were growing at customs depots for the sake of $50 in purchases.
"That's part of why we decided to increase it to $200," he said. "You can imagine what it was like waiting at the airport for $50."
Lauzon said he has nothing but support for local business, and added he is not one to engage in cross-border shoppping.
Lauzon added it was constituents who asked for the increase, both in Cornwall and other federal ridings.
The Cornwall chamber and local businesses have been continuously fighting cross-border shopping for the past two decades.
The chamber and other local businesses claim they have poured substantial money into advertising programs, and incentives to encourage people to shop in Cornwall.
"The Cornwall Chamber of Commerce would like to offer Mr. Lauzon the chance to explain to the business community and their employees on why he thought this would 'benefit many border towns, including Cornwall' and who he was talking about when he stated 'I know it was important to people who suggested it,'" the chamber statement reads.