Trudeau and Trump are worlds apart on Canada-U.S. Border closure


While Canada and the United States have agreed to close their common land border to non-essential travel, they don’t seem to agree on several related issues – including what to do next.More than seven months after the border was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump have offered mixed messages on what is happening now.

The Canada-U.S. Border is slated to reopen on October 21, but Trudeau hinted this week that the closure will be extended.

In an interview on Wednesday On the Winnipeg podcast The Start, Trudeau said Canada plans to keep the border closed as long as the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States remains high.

“We continue to extend border closures because the United States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening these borders,” he said.

Four weeks before, Trump offered a different prognosis for the closure of the Canada-US border.

“We are looking at the border with Canada – Canada would like it to be opened,” he told the White House on September 18.

“So we will be opening the borders very soon… We want to get back to normal business. ”

WATCH | Trump says on September 18 the Canada-U.S. Border could reopen “very soon”:

US President Donald Trump answered a question about the border as he left the White House on Friday, September 18. 0:48

Foreign affairs expert Edward Alden said the disconnect between the two leaders suggested there was currently no joint discussion on a possible reopening plan.

“With the Trudeau government saying, ‘No, don’t open’ … and President Trump saying, ‘Oh, I think we’ll reopen soon,’ that’s no reason for serious government-to-government negotiation,” said Alden, professor of economic relations between the United States and Canada at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.

Even if many Canadians support closing the border, which came into effect at the end of March, it devastated the tourism industry, separated loved ones and injured border communities in Canada and the United States.

Edward Alden, an expert on foreign policy, believes that Canada and the United States may not engage in a discussion about a possible reopening of the border. (submitted by Edward Alden)

Alden said he understood why the border was closed so far, but that it was important to start laying the groundwork for a plan to reopen.

“The problem with not having these negotiations is, when can we get an idea of ​​when it will be safe to reopen the border? ”

CBC News asked the Canadian and US governments about the fate of the border closure and got mixed responses.

The US Department of Homeland Security said the two countries are considering relaxing some restrictions.

“We believe the United States and Canada are working well together to examine potential areas for future release, when public health conditions permit,” a DHS spokesperson said in an email.

But a spokesperson for Bill Blair – Canada’s Minister of Public Safety – made a less definitive statement on next steps.

“We will continue to assess the best public health information we have to make a decision on when and how to reopen our border,” the spokesperson said in an email.

“This decision will be made in Canada. ”

According to Reuters – who spoke to well-placed sources in Washington and Ottawa last month – the United States had floated the idea of ​​relaxing some border restrictions, but Canadian officials have shown little enthusiasm.

Canadians advised against going to the United States

In another disconnect between the two countries, Trudeau is warning Canadians not to fly to the United States, while the United States welcomes Canadian air passengers.

Although the United States has agreed to close its common land border with Canada, it allows Canadians to fly to the country for leisure travel. The american government refused to explain why he made this decision.

Conversely, Canada will not allow Americans to enter on non-essential travel by any mode of transportation unless special exemption.

Some Canadian snowbirds plan to visit the southern United States this winter, despite the recommendation to avoid all non-essential travel. (Marsha Halper / The Miami Herald / The Associated Press)

CBC News recently reported on some canadian snowbirds are planning to fly to Florida this winter – because they can.

Asked about Canadians – including snowbirds – who travel to the United States, Trudeau said in the podcast interview that they should stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People have to recognize that they are putting themselves in danger, that they are putting their loved ones in danger. ” he said. “The recommendation is to avoid non-essential travel, and that’s for people’s own safety. “

Case numbers down in solar states

Trudeau and Trump also disagree on the COVID-19 status of some of the U.S. sun destinations that Canadians might be tempted to visit this winter.

“I know there are a lot of people very worried about what’s going on south of the border in Florida, Arizona and California and other places where the virus is not under control – much less under control than we are here, ”Trudeau said in the interview.

However, when Trump suggested the border would reopen soon, he said Florida and Arizona were “doing very well.”

According to U.S Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention The data, the number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Arizona, Florida and California has declined significantly since their worrying peaks in the summer.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases has recently increased in some Canadian provinces.

Trump made a point of emphasizing this fact in a speech last week.

“All over the world you see big outbreaks,” he told a crowd of supporters. “Big pushes in Canada. “


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