UPDATED 3/18: The Canada-U.S. border will be closed to non-essential travel
On Monday, the Canadian government announced greater restricted travel to the country, many days after U.S. President Donald Trump did the same. Trump’s ban prevented non-Americans from European countries from entering that country and Canada followed suit, though on a bigger scale.
But as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus doubles every few days in the U.S., it made me question Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s logic for not restricting travel to Canada by Americans. And, the way he delivered the message seemed questionable.
Trudeau said, “We will be denying entry to Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents. This measure will carve out some designated exceptions including for air crews, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens and, at this time, U.S. citizens.”
It almost seemed like the U.S. citizens addition was slid in at the end. You’d think – at least logically in my mind – it would have been presented as follows: We will be denying entry to Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, with the exception of U.S. citizens who are still permitted into the country. Then list the exceptions after that first sentence.
To elaborate on the exceptions before naming Americans as still OK seemed misplaced. The way it fell in the announcement was as if U.S. citizens are Canadian, too. It came across disjointed.
Making matters worse, when Trudeau, and later his appointed medical and political experts faced the media, none could clearly articulate why Americans were still allowed into the country as the coronavirus outbreak worsens. Every time the question was asked, the answer always revolved around trade with the country. None of the spokespeople clearly articulated, “Hey, this is why random tourists are still allowed in our country.”
Yes, I understand we get a lot of shipments from that country and our economy relies heavily on American trade. But we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about people leisurely coming to a country and possibly infecting our people.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking Americans. After all, I’m a radio host in their country and spend much of my working life there. Though I do question the mentality of large segments of the population when I see them fist fighting over toilet paper and lined up to buy guns in the wake of the global epidemic.
We know store shelves are already being picked clean in Canada, so what’s stopping American visitors from stockpiling the limited inventory in our stores and taking it right back across the border?
If U.S. tourists aren’t going to be banned to alleviate the spread of the disease, Canada should at least enforce what these people can buy here take back across the border when they return to their own infected community. True, it’s up to the American government to restrict what’s brought back but the countries should work together on this.
As the drama from the illness unfolds and we continue restricting our access to people and places, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibilities that we’ll soon be confined to our own city or even less. It’s recommended now that we stay home and hideaway from the outside world but at least we still have the freedom to travel in our own country.
I’m waiting for the day I’m told I can’t visit another province or area here. I hope other countries face a stricter ban than I in Canada – my home.