Opinion: The U.S.-Canada border will open soon. But why would Canadians want to cross it?


For the past few months, President Joe Biden’s administration has pressured Canada to open its border. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer threatened unilateral action, saying that if Ottawa continued to stall, the US would go ahead and allow vaccinated Canadians to enter.

Looks like the pressure has worked. Canada will open its border to Americans on August 9, with no commitment on when the US will retaliate. No quid pro quo.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he was not directed. But to avoid the appearance of being polite, you’d think he would have insisted on a joint declaration with Washington on a double start.

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If one side had the right to stay longer than the other, it was certainly Canadian. The numbers tell that story: In the US, the seven-day average of new cases has exceeded 37,000 a day, doubling the number in June. There is no such spike in Canada, where the population is being vaccinated rapidly.

Then there’s the matter of holdouts. According to the latest ABC-Washington Post poll, close to 30 percent of the US population They say they won’t get vaccinated – a frightening number. In Canada, only about 10. one of They say they won’t get the jab. For anyone wondering which country’s population is making the most sense, the comparison is a telling one.

Some Americans who are refusing the vaccine have said in focus groups that they are ready to use fake vaccination identification cards to overcome any obstacle. Entering Canada could be one of them.

The US will open its border long ago, but when it does, it shouldn’t be surprised if traffic from the north drops significantly from normal years. Given what Canadians have seen south of the border, why would they want to spend more time there?

When Canadians look to the south, they have seen not only a rise in COVID-19 and vaccine denial, but also an increase in mass shootings, gun sales, racial tensions, social disorganization and political violence.

According to FBI data, there was a nearly 25 percent increase in homicides in 2020 compared to 2019 – the highest increase since tracking began 60 years ago. A staggering 23 million guns were purchased by Americans in 2020, compared to 13.9 million in 2019.

In terms of new COVID-19 cases, Florida – the most preferred US destination for Canadians – leads all other states. Canadians can remember when a rising star in the Republican firm, Governor Ron DeSantis, claimed how his Sunshine State had done so well in fighting the pandemic without following the progressives’ prescription of heavy lockdowns. Mr. DeSantis must eat the crow now. But his position among Republicans may not be overbearing—they admire him, as they do Donald Trump, for turning up his nose at science and the awakening establishment.

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Unlike Canada, the pandemic has become incredibly politicized in the US. “Canada is doing better, not because we’re trying less than that,” White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said this week. “That’s because in Canada you don’t have a division of people who are not vaccinated in many ways based on ideology and political persuasion.”

In an ABC-Wapo poll, 47 percent of Republicans said they would likely or definitely not get vaccinated, compared to just 6 percent of Democrats.

Vaccine hesitant Canadians are also predominantly conservative, but the numbers are small. In Canada, a massive, mainstream disruptive network isn’t going to fuel anti-virus sentiment as much as Fox News and its allies south of the border.

There has been some progress in Mr Biden’s efforts to get his country back on a calm, rational and civic path. But they have made little progress in bridging the scorpion-in-a-bottle gap between the two political solitudes.

The hard-right and extreme-right’s grip on the Republican Party has never been as influential as it is now. There is little or no hope of compromise – not on who won the election or the racial divide or the climate crisis or even what the truth is. On the suitability of vaccines, they are turning America in a retrograde direction.

So the enthusiasm of Canadians, which can usually come with the reopening of the border with our great neighbour, has calmed down. Not many people will be in a hurry to cross it.

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