Canada looks at a multi-stage approach to reopening borders to travelers
Canadian officials are considering reopening the border in phases, starting this summer to allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter.
Discussions about reopening in Canada and the United States have recently accelerated because more people in both countries have been vaccinated, and the United States is increasingly frustrated with continuing to close the border.
Several border town mayors and a federal official who had consulted on the negotiations described the broad themes of these conversations to CBC News.
In a public speech on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed two key elements of the possible reopening plan: The reopening will take place in stages, and the first batch of passengers entering Canada must be fully vaccinated.
Trudeau said in the report: “As the number of people in Canada declines, as the number of people in the United States and other parts of the world begins to decline, we are studying how to start welcoming tourists in stages.” By Canadian Press.
Problems still being solved
Several aspects of the reopening plan are still pending.
The first is the reopening date itself: Public Security Secretary Bill Blair told a group of border mayors at a meeting last month that it is not yet certain whether the first phase will take place in late June, when the current border restrictions maturity.
An official who asked to remain anonymous about the Canada-US talks said that he doubted the possibility of reopening in June and said that July may be the start date of the first phase.
Other technical details remain to be resolved, such as the form of vaccination certificate. The same official said that at least one vaccination card is needed to prove it, and other forms of evidence may be needed.
This leads to another important possibility-the asymmetrical reopening of the Canada-US border, where different rules apply to each country.
Different countries, different rules?
Take the proof of vaccination as an example-like several other aspects of the pandemic, it has become a political and partisan issue in the United States
Some Republican governors have passed laws prohibiting the requirement for vaccination certificates on their territories. President Joe Biden stated that he will not create a federal vaccine passport.
Officials familiar with the talks said that countries may have different border standards for vaccination.
At the end of last month, Blair and the mayor of a border town in Ontario proposed the possibility of making different rules at a consultative meeting.
A mayor said that she hopes that the travel standards of the two countries are as simple and similar as possible.
Bernadette Clement, the mayor of Cornwall, Ont., said she hopes to avoid patchwork that creates chaos and backlogs at the border.
Blair Mayor Meeting: “I want a plan”
She said she told Blair that the most important thing is that after 15 months of chaos in communities like hers, she wants to see a roadmap for reopening.
“I want a plan. I want to see a plan,” she said in an interview.
“These monthly conversations are exhausting. Some people will like this plan, and some will not like this plan. But let us at least make a plan so that we can start discussing some specific things with our own community. …Add some timelines.”
Another participant in the meeting said that Blair reserved the possibility of reopening in late June, but he was not sure.
The Mayor of Windsor Drew Dilkens said that the minister indicated that he was in discussions with the United States, including with the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
US officials have denied reports that they plan to unilaterally reopen the border side on June 21, regardless of whether Canada agrees.
Americans are getting angry
But it is clear that American politicians are increasingly annoyed by Ottawa’s preference for slower methods.
This growing sense of frustration is bipartisan.
A senior Republican accused the Trudeau administration of delaying.in a letter For Mayorkas, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik called the current measures illogical.
She said that it is unfair that Canadians can fly to the United States and get vaccinated, and fully vaccinated Americans who own houses in Canada cannot even visit their homes.
If Canada can make plans and provide exemptions for teams playing hockey together, they can certainly do the same for families separated for 15 months due to border restrictions. @letusreunite https://t. co/MXHSz8MeEO
She said that if no agreement is reached before June 21, the United States should start reopening alone and allow Canadians who own property, ships, and business interests to enter or use US airports for overseas travel.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently criticized Canada’s approach in different interviews on CNN and Fox News.
He called Canadians vaccinated in the United States and received vaccines from the United States, while prohibiting Americans from entering Canada is “ridiculous” and “false.”
“As our good neighbor and friend, how about Prime Minister Trudeau opening the border to vaccinated people?” Christie told CNN last month.
“It is wrong for him not to do this. It sends the wrong signal, and it is also wrong for President Biden to sit back and allow this to happen.”
He accused Biden of failing to publicly appeal to Canada to refuse to relax travel regulations, which is weak.
Canada now has a higher proportion of the population vaccinated with a single dose than the United States, but the proportion of the fully vaccinated US population is Nearly six times higher.
with 43% 53% and 53% of American adults of the total population of the United States are fully vaccinated. Life in the United States has returned to normal, with workplaces, bars, restaurants, sports events, and concert halls becoming more and more full.