Shomporko Desk:-OTTAWA – As U.S. members from Congress push Canada to reopen its shared border with the United States, Canadians are pushing back — both in government and on social media.
In an open letter routed to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, 29 bipartisan members from Congress approached the Canadian government to plan a phased reopening of the Canada-U.S. border and to think about facilitating existing measures.
“We are asking that the United States and Canada immediately craft a comprehensive framework for the phased reopening of the border based on objective metrics and accounting for the varied circumstances across border regions,” read the letter, which was published on Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins’ website on July 3.
The members of Congress, who represent the northern states along the border, also implored the Canadian government to consider easing restrictions on family members and property owners impeded by the border closure.
“We understand the importance of prioritizing the safety of our communities as we all navigate the complex calculation of minimizing public health risks and resuming economic activity. However, the social and economic partnership between our two nations necessitates a clear pathway forward,” the letter read.
They crafted the letter following the latest joint Canada-U.S. agreement to extend the current border closure until July 21. This is the third time the agreement to maintain the border closure has been extended.
The United States reached a macabre milestone at the end of June when it became home to the world’s highest number of reported infections: more than 2.2 million. It also has the highest death toll in the world, with 120,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Shortly after the news broke about the soaring cases in the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government was considering the next steps for the looming deadline of the current border closure.
Speaking in a press conference on June 29, with just over three weeks until the agreement expires, he said the government will continue to assess the situation at our shared border.
“We have extended the border measures with the United States until July 21. We will continue to assess the situation and work with the Americans on what steps need to be taken into the month of August,” Trudeau said.
And as COVID-19 continues to affect countries around the world, Trudeau said the health of Canadians remains the top priority when considering the loosening of any border restrictions.
“We are going to be very, very careful about when and how we start reopening international borders,” Trudeau said.
Photo credit: SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS
News source: CTVNews