‘It defies logic’: Americans want to know why Canada won’t reopen the border now

WASHINGTON – Many Canadians living in the US were celebrating the announcement Wednesday in Ottawa that some easing of pandemic border restrictions could be in place by mid-July. “I’ll just cry!!! I hope this applies to all provinces, I want to go home!” A member of a Facebook group for migrants wrote.

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu’s announcement contained no plans to allow fully vaccinated Americans to travel into Canada, and no timeline for introducing such measures. Among Americans who have been impatient with Canada’s reluctance to ease travel restrictions, the response has been disappointing.

“It defies logic,” said Representative Brian Higgins, a New York Democrat who chairs the Congressional Northern Border Caucus.

“Not good enough,” Representative Chris Jacobs, a Republican from New York, said in a statement.

“It’s a tremendous disappointment,” said Maryscott Greenwood, CEO of the Canadian-American Business Council.

“Once again the Canadian government has failed to respond to the needs of the shared cross-border community,” said Chuck Schumer, the powerful Senate Majority Leader. told Buffalo News.

John Adams, an American who lives in Florida and owns a home on Vancouver Island, Running ads in Toronto and Vancouver Advocating for the reopening of the border for fully vaccinated Americans after crowdfunding for that purpose. He was infuriated by this announcement. “There’s absolutely nothing there,” Adams said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statements in recent weeks that signaled the lifting of some restrictions had given Adams so much hope that he designed a “thank you” ad to run this week and a planned roadblock. Accommodation was booked from US side for the trip. Later this month in his BC home. “It was all just a mirage, like water in the desert that only he could see.”

Adams now plans to increase its significant advertising spend in the Canadian markets. “I just went downstairs and wired an additional $10,000 to my media buyer in Vancouver,” Adams says. “Trudeau is kicking the can down the street and he’s running out of the street, and I can’t lack for commercials.”

adams belongs to a loosely affiliated group The number of Americans who found each other via social media – some in Canada have their own property, others have loved ones and social ties north of the border. . His so far objections to Canada’s plan mirror those expressed by politicians and business leaders.

First: Americans – including 42 percent who have been fully vaccinated so far – are unable to visit Canada unless they fall into one of the “essential worker” categories. Second: There is no specifics of any plan for further phases of reopening.

This is a frustration shared by some north of the border – particularly in places and industries dependent on cross-border travel. The mayor of Niagara Falls, ON, Jim Diodati, says many businesses in his city are “simply sticking up” because American visitors who typically make up 50 percent of tourism revenue have been cut.

Diodati says he is ashamed when he speaks to the mayors of neighboring US cities in New York state, where 60 percent of adults are fully vaccinated and where nearly all pandemic restrictions have been lifted. “They say, ‘What are you guys doing? What are we waiting for?'” He says. “You know, it’s depressing.”

It can also be a competitive disadvantage. “You hear some American businesses saying, ‘Hey, that’s been great for us, because Niagara Falls, Canada has significantly more tourists than Niagara Falls, USA,'” Diodati says. “So, Americans, if they can’t cross, they’re just going to stop there. And that’s where they’re going to spend their money.”

Higgins, a Democratic member of Congress, says it goes beyond economics—the sanctions cut off entire cross-border life for his constituents, who own cottages in Fort Erie, and who have friends and family in Canada regularly. used to coming from What he says is most frustrating for him is that these decisions do not appear to be based on the science that Trudeau’s government has relied on for so long.

“The announcements from the Canadian authorities (Wednesday) defy logic and basically say that everything we told you about the last 15 months is bull-,” he says.

He gives the example of an American couple who visit their own cottage in Ontario: “How does this cause any public health risk? It doesn’t,” he says. “I’m following the science I am following the data, I am following the facts. And our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made it very clear that if you are vaccinated, you have a very low risk of getting or giving COVID and so you should be able to travel. “

His sense of displeasure is a rare point of bipartisan consensus in the US Congress. Jacobs, his Republican ally, Recently introduced a bill Force the Biden administration to submit a report detailing communications with Canada about the reopening of the border. CBC analyst Alex Panetta painted it as “The danger of inevitably starting to leak details about what goes on behind the scenes.”

Jacobs, perhaps predictably, did not see the Canadian declaration as progress. “Vague announcements with arbitrary restrictions on fully vaccinated individuals are not enough,” Jacobs said in a statement to the Star.

Greenwood, who was a US diplomat in Canada before leading the Canada-US Business Council, says that he saw the most “unfortunate and disturbing” aspects of Canada and the US implementing different border policies. Chances are. “What we are seeing this week is a decision, in recent weeks, for the US and Canada to join hands with each other so hard at the start of the pandemic, to agree to the odds. How do we deal with it.” She says it’s a break from the way both countries have dealt with border issues for generations. “Not just like mine and your lifetime, but our parents and our grandfathers- Like grandma.”

Higgins alludes to something similar, referring to the emergence of mistrust as “collateral damage” to the process. Higgins, however, says he remains optimistic that things could change after President Joe Biden and Trudeau meet at the G7 summit this week. It’s a hope that many of the people I spoke to heard me resonate. “They’re the only two people who can change it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says,” Higgins says. “They are both in a position to do something about it and they should do something about it.”

Edward Keenan is Starr’s Washington bureau chief. He covers American politics and current affairs. Reach him via email: [email protected]

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