House of Representatives: Canadians lose patience with border closures

For many Canadians, the ban on most travel to and from the United States — now in place for 15 months — is almost excessive.

Public Security Minister Bill Blair said he understood, even if he defended the decision to continue the cross-border restrictions for at least one month.

Blair said in an interview: “Let me admit that we have heard very clear news from the mayors of border areas and communities across the country affected by these restrictions. Of course we have also heard some opinions from American interests.” CBC broadcast house.

But despite the border closures putting pressure on quarantined families and embarrassing people who are banned from visiting resort properties and cross-border shopping, Blair insists that protecting Canadians’ health remains the government’s top priority—and Will not waver on the border until it is “safe to proceed.”

“I want to make it clear to you and the Canadians that we rely heavily on advice from public officials and medical scientists,” he said.

Members of Congress say to save the summer

On Monday, Blair is expected to announce when, how and to whom non-essential travel will reopen the border.

But patience is running out. Frustration is forming.

At this week’s Liberal Party caucus meeting, some members of Congress representing constituencies that rely on tourism and other cross-border travel called for the border to be reopened before the end of the critical summer vacation. These calls were not answered.

For small towns like Stansted, Quebec, close to the Vermont border, the ban on non-essential travel has economic and personal impacts.

Jeanette Sisco (Jeanette Sisco) works in a local antique shop that used to have many American customers.

“It’s very slow,” she told CBC News. “When they start to come back, I will be very happy because there are regular customers every week and we have not seen them for two years.”

Laura Wood is separated from her 63-year-old mother. She lives on the other side of the border, separated by a wrought iron fence-the only physical barrier separating the two countries in the part of Stansted.

Life is shelved

She said that she and her mother have been visiting the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, which straddles the border between Rock Island in Quebec and the Derby Line in Vermont. No touch is allowed, nor is it allowed to cross lines that look more illusory than reality.

“It’s hard not to enjoy time with her,” Wood said. She and her mother have made plans for a real visit, believing that the border will reopen next week-these plans will have to be shelved again.

“Yes… She really wants this to happen.”

It’s not just individual Canadians who become impatient.

The Canadian Business Council stated that the decision to extend the border ban failed to recognize the increasing number of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

BCC President Goldy Hyder said in a media statement issued on Friday: “We hope that the government on Monday will follow the recommendations of its own COVID-19 testing and screening expert advisory group, which calls for a gradual Relax some border restrictions.”

Canadians need a clear plan to safely reopen the border so that friends and family can be reunited and businesses can welcome returning travelers. “

U.S. Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo, New York is the co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus. In his tweet, he called the month-long extension “nonsense.”

He said in a media statement: “Millions of Americans and Canadians count on our government to work together to reach an agreement that provides a clear road map for reopening the border between the two countries.”

“The lack of transparency surrounding these negotiations is detrimental to our voters and the millions of residents on both sides of the border waiting to see their loved ones, visit their properties and restore business contacts.”

Blair said that the two countries are working together to develop a reopening plan. However, he acknowledged that there are still some uncertainties-such as the fact that there are still travel restrictions between certain provinces.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said that “further relaxation of restrictions” must wait until Canada reaches its vaccination benchmarks. (Adrian Wilder/Canada Press)

“Frankly speaking, we care about the protection of Canadians. Therefore, for people traveling from the United States or anywhere else in the world, we want to make sure that they can do so safely when they come to Canada and don’t put Canadians at risk. ,”He says.

“But when a large part of this country is fully vaccinated-we think the threshold, at least according to the recommendations of public health agencies so far, is about 75%-this will create conditions for us and we can further relax the restrictions. .”

The vaccination campaign is approaching that goal. Until the goal is reached, the Canada-US border remains a barrier-this line will take at least another month to cross.

Listen to The House on CBC Radio: Border restrictions and the new face of the Supreme Court

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