No Way Border Can Open to Regular Travel With Continued COVID Death-Count Disaster in Trump’s America
A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted August 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
It should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the reckless idiocy of the U.S. Trump administration when it comes to addressing what is after all – not “fake news” and not a hoax” – but a global pandemic that rivals the catastrophic Spanish Flu epidemic of a century ago.
The March 2020 closing of the Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and of all border crossings between Canada and the United States has been extended for the fifth time – for yet at least another full month up to September 21st, 2020.
In Canada, word of the extension came in a simply Tweet – not even a statement this time from Canada’s Prime Minister’s Office – from Canada’s Public Safety Minister bill Blair, which read; “We are extending the reciprocal restrictions at the Canada-US border for another 30 days, till Sept. 21, 2020. We will continue to do what’s necessary to keep our communities safe.”
Keep our communities across Ontario and the rest of Canada safe, indeed.
We in Canada – and most Canadians have sacrificed so much and worked so hard with mask wearing, social distancing and whatever else it takes – to extradite us from this nighmare, and unfortunately, too many Americans on the Trump/Republican cult side of the equation have not.
Our Canada can simply not afford to open the borders, potentially to people from states like Texas, Florida and Georgia – that don’t seem to give a rat’s ass about doing what it takes to address this killer virus, or about the toll on health and life it is taking among them.
In a news release his Buffalo, New York office issued this August 14th, Brian Higgins, a good U.S. Congressman from the Democratic Party Side, sounded realistic about the problem in his country, inspite of his understandable concern to at least open the borders to fellow New Yorkers who own property and have relatives they wish to visit in Canada.
“We would love for the border to reopen but we certainly expected this decision,” Higgins was quoted saying in this August 14th news release. “Unless and until our President takes this pandemic seriously and employs policies that protect Americans and support assistance to help communities, I’m afraid we are facing a long, tough road ahead.”
As someone who loves crossing the border, as much as anyone, to visit friends and places I love, I am afraid we are in for a long, tough road too.
Try maybe at least through the end of this year, and possibly into the first several months of 2021.
The horrendous mess that the Trump administration and his Republican Party enablers have made of things in the United States makes it virtually impossible to open a border that might very well allow idiots who thing COVID-19 is a hoax, or something that can be addressed by drinking household cleaners, to cross over and infect and kill Canadians.
We simply cannot allow that.
And just to amply the reason why we can’t open the border now or anytime n the foreseeable future, U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins of Buffalo/Western New York, was open and honourable enough in in news release to say the following about Canada’s numbers around fighting this pandemic, vs. the United States –
“Canada, with a population of 37.6 million currently has 123,184 COVID cases and 9,063 deaths. When adjusted for population Canada has about 24 deaths per 100,000 people.
“The US on the other hand, with a population of 328 million people, has over 5.255 million confirmed cases and 167,253 deaths. When adjusted for population the US has about 51 – or twice as many deaths per 100,000 people.”
That was awfully generous of this U.S. Congressman to say, but let’s not get too complacent or smug, my fellow Canadians. We still have a killer pandemic on our hands.
Let’s continue doing all we can to keep that curve down!
Now here is some of the news release from the Buffalo, New York office of U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins –
U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins Responds to Northern Border Travel Restriction Extension
Canada Announces Travel Ban Continues Through September 21
News Comes as Trump’s Mishandling of Pandemic Continues & Report Finds DHS Officials Not Qualified to Lead
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), who serves as Co-Chair of the Northern Border Caucus, released the following statement in response to today’s announcement that the Canadian government is extending travel restrictions between the United States and Canada through September 21, 2020:
“On full display for the entire world to see is the Trump Administration’s abject failure to lead. This lack of leadership is keeping families apart, straining the relationship with our closest allies, and contributing to unnecessary deaths.
“We would love for the border to reopen but we certainly expected this decision. Unless and until our President takes this pandemic seriously and employs policies that protect Americans and support assistance to help communities, I’m afraid we are facing a long, tough road ahead.”
The border first closed due to the pandemic on March 24th. The border crossing restrictions have previously been extended multiple times. The first extension was through May 20, then June 22, July 21, August 21 and now September 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
Higgins has been advocating for additional exceptions and considerations. On May 22, Higgins first asked for the definition of essential travel be expanded specifically to include:
- 1) travel safely to visit family,
- 2) travel to manage individuals’ legitimate business interests, and
- 3) travel to inspect, secure and/or manage personal property.
Most recently Higgins requested clarity on procedures for caregivers crossing with patients visiting Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center or other regional healthcare facilities.
Congressman Higgins and his Northern Border Co-Chair Elise Stefanik, also led a bipartisan letter signed by 29 members of Congress<https://higgins.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/northern-border-caucus-co-chairs-higgins-stefanik-lead-bipartisan-push> calling on the US and Canadian governments to begin to develop a framework for a phased reopening of the border.
Canada, with a population of 37.6 million currently has 123,184 COVID cases and 9,063 deaths. When adjusted for population Canada has about 24 deaths per 100,000 people.
The US on the other hand, with a population of 328 million people, has over 5.255 million confirmed cases and 167,253 deaths. When adjusted for population the US has about 51 – or twice as many deaths per 100,000 people.
The United States has just 4.25% of the world’s population but our citizens, friends, neighbors and family members now represent over 22% of the world’s deaths due to COVID.
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