Canada Must Say NO to Calls from U.S. Politicians for Re-Opening of Border – Phased In Re-Opening or Otherwise

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

The Peace Bridge between Niagara, Ontario and Buffalo, New York. Keep border crossings like this closed!

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.

Buffalo area Congressman Brian Higgins

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.

Under Trump, the United States has become exceptional among any other country in the world for COVID cases and deaths.

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

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

4 responses to “Canada Must Say NO to Calls from U.S. Politicians for Re-Opening of Border – Phased In Re-Opening or Otherwise

  1. Michel Sastre

    Ot course, we, our government, must not bend to the bully.

    Like

  2. Totally ridiculous article. Completely clueless to what is really going on in the states. I have paid my property taxes for 68 years for my Canadian property. I don’t have coronavirus and have been very careful the entire time. There is absolutely no reason that I should not be able to access my remote property.

    Like

  3. Linda McKellar

    Sorry American friends but it is our border just as much as it is yours.

    We have our own laws that don’t allow you to come in with guns and we don’t want your Covid either. If we decide it is to be closed, it will be.

    Let’s face it, if you wanted to keep Canadians out of the US it would be a done deal, no negotiating. Canadians also have friends and property in the US. Our tourism, services, restaurants, etc. are suffering just as much as yours. The economic sector is likely a big part of your concern, not compassion.

    You are botching your Covid response….horribly! Too many of your citizens are being selfish, careless and downright stupid. Those are the ones spoiling it for all of us. Vilify them, not Canadians. Give THEM a kick in the butt. They want “liberty or death”. Ironically one might give them the other! Until it is under control our border must be closed….period. I don’t care if it’s for a year. Those to whom I have spoken universally agree.

    I haven’t had another human face in my house since mid March and did not go to all of that effort and sacrifice so people can come over the border from highly infected areas, disobey quarantine rules and party irresponsibly like I’ve seen in the US. Some have already lied and sneaked across in Alberta claiming to be going to Alaska. While many might act according to the rules, there are others who will not.

    I feel sorry for those with property here but our health….and yours…. is far more important.

    Like

  4. Dear Bob O, congratulations on your graduation from the Trump School of Epidemiology. Graduation day must have been a proud moment for you as you took your well earned place alongside a sea of fellow graduates, all wearing “Make America Great Again” ball caps.

    Let me bring you up to speed on a few tiny details that you and your ilk have a difficult time understanding. I will type slowly so that you don’t miss anything.

    Canada’s infection rate has been, and continues to be, exceptionally low while the numbers in the U.S. are the highest in the world and growing exponentially rendering your country and the Trump administration the butt joke of the world sufficient to have Europe close its borders to the U.S.A. Even a child can forecast that many other countries will soon follow suit.

    But back to your personal health, what the Trump School of Epidemiology did not teach you is that A) you can pass a Coronavirus test today and be infected tomorrow and B) you can be highly infectious and not exhibit any symptoms at all.

    So, now you know why Canada has absolutely no interest in welcoming you to your remote Canadian property. I know, I know, you never thought you’d see the day when figurative walls would be built, not by your country to keep others out, but by other countries to keep Americans out.

    Suck it up, big boy. Your worst is yet to come.

    P.S. Say hi to Governor Cuomo for me. My fellow Canadians and I love him!!

    Like

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