Thanks to Trump and his Enablers, United States is now in flames with COVID-19 sickness and death, and we don’t need it imported to Canada
A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted July 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
I usually have a good deal of regard for Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins and the work he is doing to bring more jobs and prosperity to the Buffalo area, and to strengthen the economic and cultural bonds between his U.S. district and our Niagara, Ontario region.
But the Democratic Congressman had this Canadian, and I suspect many others, wondering what planet he’s recently been living on with a July 3rd letter drafted and signed by him and several other border area Congress men and women, Democrat and Republican, asking for their U.S. government and our Canadian government to set plans for a “phased re-opening” of border crossings between the two countries.
“As members representing congressional districts along the U.S. Northern Border, we understand the importance of prioritizing the safety of our communities as we all navigate the complex calculation of minimizing public health risks and resuming economic activity,” they say in their letter to acting U.S. Homeland Security Department Secretary Chad Wold and Canada’s Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister, Bill Bliar. “However, the social and economic partnership between our two nations necessitates a clear pathway forward.”
Excuse me Congressman Higgins and all the other northern border area congressional members who signed this letter, but whateversocial and economic partnership we have had in the past, before Trump came along and put that on shaky ground, is not worth the health and welfare – indeed, the very lives – of Canadians who have sacrifices so much over the past four or five months to bring our COID-19 case counts down.
Canada and the United States agreed in March to temporarily close our mutual border crossings, and revisit that decision each month, to all but essential, mostly commercial traffic, due to what was then a rising tide of COVID-19 sickness and deaths in both countries.
Congressman Higgins and company, I don’t know whether you have taken this into seriously accounts, but Canada’s case counts have gone down, and case counties in many states across your country are taking off like a brush fire in the middle of a drought.
In the way of your July 4th celebrations – one in which your president yelled (and lied) into a microphone that about 99 per cent of all COVID cases are “completely harmless” – the case count in the United States reached three million (the highest of any other nation in the world) and your death toll crossed the 130,000-and-counting mark.
You can kind of understand Higgins and clmpany wanting to see the two countries possibly at least loosen the retrictions for people who have property and relatives on both sides of the border. It’s been particularly tough for people who have not been able to cross to see relatives for all these months, and the members of congress appear to be saying; ‘at least show them a little heart.”
Like other Canadians, I feel bad about that too. I have relatives and close friends on the American side of the border that I miss dearly and would love to see too.
But given the total mess Trump and a number of the governors in Florida, South Dakota, Texas and other states have made of this, with case counts soaring by the day, I am sorry.
I don’t want to see one more vehicle with a U.S. licence plate crossing the the border, than what we have now . NOT ONE.
It is horrific enough that Trump is doing his best, through his stadium-piacked rallies and his tweets, to make a mockery of the serious danger this pandemic poses. As of this July 8th, he is now threatening to cut COVID funding assistance to any state that doesn’t re-open its schools, while at the same time offering no plans to states and school boards for protecting the children, teachers and support staff.
For reasons only the Devil himself may know,Trump continues liberating a killer virus that is taking out over more citizens in his own country, and we don’t need to open the border to let this deadly infection re-ignite in Canada.
So please Prime Minister Trudeau, keep that damn border closed until next year if you have to.
Canadian lives are on the line here.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
Here is the News Release that Buffalo, New York area Brian Higgins’ office circulated earlier this July, on the letter sent to the Canadian and U.S. governments, calling for the drafting of a border re-opening plan –
For Release: July 3, 2020
Northern Border Caucus Co-Chairs Higgins & Stefanik Lead Bipartisan Push for U.S. & Canada to Develop Framework for Phased Reopening of the Border
29 Congressmembers Join Call for Both Countries to Consider Expanding Admissible Crossings
As the nation heads into what would typically be a busy weekend for cross-border travel, Congressmmembers Brian Higgins (D-NY-26) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), Co-Chairs of the Northern Border Caucus, are leading a push for the United States and Canada to develop guidance that prepares for reopening while the border is under its current shutdown.
Joining Higgins and Stefanik on the letter to the Acting Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness<https://higgins.house.gov/sites/higgins.house.gov/files/6-3-20%20NORTHERN%20BORDER%20LETTER.pdf> are Congressmembers Joseph Morelle (D-NY-25), Peter Welch D-VT), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY-22), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1), Pete Stauber (R-MN-8), Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), Paul Mitchell (R-MI-10), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5), Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4), Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6), Tom Reed (R-NY-23), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), David Joyce (R-OH-14), Jack Bergman (R-MI-1), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH-2), Robert Latta (R-OH-5), Greg Gianforte R-MT), John Katko (R-NY-24), Tom Emmer (R-MN-6), Kathleen Rice (D-NY-4), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9), Collin Peterson (D-MN-7), Daniel Kildee (D-MI-5), William Keating (D-MA-5), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-8), Jared Golden (D-ME-2) and Russ Fulcher (R-ID-1).
The Members write, “We are asking that the United States and Canada immediately craft a comprehensive framework for phased reopening of the border based on objective metrics and accounting for the varied circumstances across border regions.
“Additionally, we request consideration of any interim measures that may be appropriate to bilaterally ease restrictions on family members and property owners – including those with property on U.S. soil accessible only through cross-border transit – in order to restore the social bond that unites our two nations.”
On March 24 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) first imposed travel restrictions at Land Ports of Entry between the United States and Canada, limiting crossings to “essential travel” due to the ongoing pandemic. A second notice extended travel restrictions through May 20. A third agreement extended northern border restrictions through June 22, 2020. A forth binational agreement extended the border closure through July 21.
Under the current order, “essential travel” includes:
* US citizens returning to the US
* Individuals traveling for medical purposes
* Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions or work
* Individuals traveling for emergency or government response
* Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g. cargo drivers)
* Members of the military
The Members point out that the uncertainty that comes with repeated temporary border restrictions creates stress for individuals and the economy.
“The continual 30-day extensions without a plan for how restrictions will be modified prolongs uncertainty for both communities and creates unnecessary tension as we approach each new expiration.
States and Provinces have created frameworks for reopening that rely on monitoring public health data, the expertise of health officials, and other defined criteria to inform government decisions on how to proceed with each phase of a reopen. This process alleviates uncertainty and allows residents to understand the decision-making and anticipate next steps. Continuing to extend border restrictions at 30-day intervals is untenable for the communities that have been separated from family and unable to tend to their property for over three months.”
The United States and Canada share 5,525 miles of border, the longest land boundary between two countries in the world. When open, more than 400,000 people and over $1.6 billion in goods cross the Northern Border daily through over 120 Ports of Entry.
Here is a recent column The New York Times published on the mess Trump and company are making of the COVID health emergency. To read it, click on – https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/22/opinion/coronavirus-trump.html
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