Trudeau Reluctant to Reopen Border with U.S.

The Biden administration wants to work with Canada on managing the border between the two countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated last week that Canada has no interest in broadly reopening that border soon.

Just hours after President Joe Biden issued an executive order calling for talks between the two countries regarding land border crossings amid the pandemic—and a new plan for those border crossings within 14 days after talks conclude—Trudeau made clear that he doesn’t want Canadians crossing their borders.

“The bottom line is this is not the time to travel either internationally or even across the country,” Trudeau said at a press briefing, citing the growing COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. “With spring break coming, people need to hunker down, stay home, make sure we kill the second wave of the virus so that we can get through into the spring—and the increase in millions of doses of vaccines that will be arriving in Canada—in the best position possible.”

While Trudeau’s message may seem at odds with Biden’s, people who have been pushing for a broader border reopening say it is not. Trudeau’s current, pandemic-specific hesitation is not indicative of his longer-term interest in seeking what Biden seeks at the border.

The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico have been closed to nonessential travel since March 21 in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The closure has resulted in a ritual in which both the U.S. and Canada extend the closure for another month every month.

Over those months, Canada has developed a different set of rules than the United States for who can cross the border. While both nations limit land border crossings to essential travel, Canada has looser rules than the U.S. for family members who wish to reunite with their loved ones.

Source: The Buffalo News