Building on remarks he made last week regarding the reopening of the Canada-United States border, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Monday (March 15) that cross-border travel will resume “eventually.”
Trudeau didn’t go into specifics about naming an exact month (or year, for that matter). However, he did acknowledge that Canadians are itching to start travelling again.
“We’re all eager to be able to travel again,” the Prime Minister told journalists at a press briefing at the Palais des congres de Montreal, where he was announcing funding for an electric battery plant in St. Jerome. “But I think we’re all going to wait patiently until such time as the health situation allows us to loosen border restrictions internationally.”
“That will be eventually, but not for today.”
Trudeau’s remarks come one year after the Canada-U.S. land border closed to non-essential traffic in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Cross-border numbers have dropped 90 per cent as the rules, currently, only allow for the flow of essential goods and services, the crossing of essential workers and others who meet certain exceptions.
The Prime Minister’s words also come following recent discussions Trudeau has had with U.S. President Joe Biden and as U.S. officials call for the easing of border restrictions.
In regards to border restrictions, Trudeau called his talks with the U.S. "ongoing."
"The first priority will always been ensuring the safety and security of our citizens," Trudeau said.
Speaking to CBC’s Power and Politics, Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins said that he’d like to see Mr. Biden and Mr. Trudeau try and open the U.S.-Canada border by the Fourth of July – especially as vaccines continue to roll out.
But the topic, lately, doesn’t appear to be at the top of the Prime Minister’s priority list.
Addressing various media outlets last Friday (March 12), Trudeau said the border will not reopen until vaccination rates and COVID-19 case counts reach safer levels.
“We will see what vaccinations look like, we will see what case counts look like. We will listen to experts on when we can start easing restrictions, but the safety of Canadians needs to come first,” Trudeau said in an interview with CTV.
“Even as Americans are getting lots of vaccines, we’re still seeing around 50,000 new cases a day in the United States,” he said. “Everyone looks forward to starting the travel again and we're certainly going to keep working closely with the United States as we have since the beginning of the pandemic.”
“But the safety of Canadians is our single most and top priority.”
The Canada-U.S. land border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020. However, Canadians have still been able to fly to the U.S. due to a well-known loophole in the system.
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