"I don't want us to experience what we experienced after spring break in March,” said Quebec Premier François Legault on Tuesday (Jan. 19). “And I still don't understand [how] a person decides to go to Punta Cana or to Cancun, in an all-inclusive hotel, given the situation that we're experiencing here in Quebec."
Premier Legault has had enough of seeing Canadians fly south to tropical destinations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and to make his point clear, he’s officially called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ban all international travel.
The Quebec Premier has already made a formal request to the Trudeau government and is currently awaiting a response, according to reports.
"We are realizing there are some people who are coming back from international travel with the virus," Premier Legault told media on Tuesday.
Legault would also like Canada's Prime Minister to take a closer look at what “non-essential travel” means.
"Going to Cancun ... and partying by the pool, I'm very sorry but that's not essential," Legault said.
The politician is also pushing Ottawa to develop stricter measures for enforcing Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine order for international arrivals.
Legault said Quebec may develop its own rules to enforce the quarantine if the federal government doesn’t up its game.
"It's not enough to have robocalls," Legault said.
Tighter travel restrictions?
Legault’s remarks come as Canada looks at possibly tightening its travel restrictions further as coronavirus variants from Europe, South America and Africa begin to emerge.
Speaking to press earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Trudeau warned that Canada’s travel rules could change “without advance notice, at any time” and advised Canadians to cancel all out-of-country trips.
Trudeau did not say what other measures he is possibly considering, but said: “We have the obligation and the right to impose very strict measures.”
Last Friday (Jan. 15), Trudeau said Ottawa was looking into the possibility of banning certain flights in response to new COVID-19 variants, specifically a new strain of the virus discovered in Brazil.
As far as tightening restrictions for international flights, Trudeau said he is “always open to strengthening them as necessary,” leaving the door open to a travel ban.
Earlier this month, a survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that 87 per cent of respondents said they would support a ban on international travel until COVID-19 case counts are lower.
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