US lawmakers want Biden to take “unilateral action” to reopen border with Canada – .

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US lawmakers want Biden to take “unilateral action” to reopen border with Canada – .


OTTAWA – A member of the United States Congress has said he has proposed to the White House to unilaterally reopen the border to Canadians as Ottawa announced a further one-month extension of restrictions banning non-essential travel.

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period aired on Sunday, Democratic Representative Brian Higgins said he addressed the decision to take “unilateral action” to allow entry of fully vaccinated people with senior officials this week, but layers of bureaucratic red tape prevent swift action.

« [There’s] too much bureaucracy, no one seems to be making a decision about it. I’ve spoken to the highest levels of the Biden administration, they need to bring him back to a task force. There are two people who can do it, US President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, ”he said.

“When you close the border in the middle of a second tourist season, hurting both Canadians and Americans, with no vision of what the plan over the next 30 days is to do all in their power to to open up this border in a gradual or more complete way is a great disservice.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair on Friday tweeted announced that more information on the government’s phased approach to quarantine and testing for fully vaccinated travelers would be released on Monday.

Later in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada must meet the threshold of 75% of the population vaccinated with a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 20% fully vaccinated before relaxing measures.

Canada-U.S. Border restrictions that prohibit discretionary travel, but exempt trade and commerce flows, as well as essential health care workers, such as nurses who live and work across the border, are in place March 2020.

Higgins said the move was a “slap in the face” for separated family members after officials announced a travel exemption for NHL hockey players a few weeks ago to cross the border to participate. in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“The National Hockey League gets an exemption that’s not based on science or data, based on the Stanley Cup playoff schedule, it’s arbitrary,” he said. “It’s a slap in the face for families who have been separated for 15 months, for people who haven’t been able to visit, enjoy, maintain their properties in the past 15 months and it’s not good for them. US-Canadian relations. “

In a separate interview on CTV’s Question Period, Business Council of Canada President and CEO Goldy Hyder said the extension is “extremely disappointing” and shows a lack of preparation.

“This agreement is renewed every month, it cannot sneak up on just anyone. We knew that day was coming when more and more people would be vaccinated and they will want to know what the benefits are of this vaccination, ”he said. “The use of phrases like ‘we work’ is of great concern and it erodes public trust and it erodes business confidence. “

Shopify President Harley Finkelstein tweeted his thoughts on the situation, stating, “This is the wrong decision. The second-order effects for Canada are enormous. We must immediately open the border to fully vaccinated travelers. “

Higgins also pointed to the business case for reopening specifically in his Buffalo, Niagara Falls district.

“Buffalo Niagara International Airport, 30 percent of the people who use it are Canadians, Canadians spend $ 15 million a year on health care services in Buffalo, western New York. We have two professional sports franchises, the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabers, 20 to 25 percent of the fan base, the ticket buying base lives in southern Ontario, ”he said.

“Every aspect of our economy in Buffalo, western New York, and our quality of life is tied to Ontario.

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