This week I will give Prime Minister Trudeau some well deserved credit.
On Monday the Federal Government announced:
“August 9, 2021, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel.”
These fully vaccinated travelers will also not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada, provided they comply with the required pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test with a negative result.
The Federal Government also announced they intend to expand this relaxing of restrictions to fully vaccinated international visitors on September 7th, with the same criteria for pre-entry with a COVID-19 molecular test and a negative result.
Why do I commend the Prime Minister for this announcement?
It is not because it means the border will be re-opening.
The reason I commend the Prime Minister is that providing clear dates and criteria in turn helps create certainty.
Many small businesses here in the Okanagan, to some extent, depend on visits from US citizens.
Over the past months there has been a growing frustration as many receive calls for bookings, orders and/or reservations, leaving small business owners in a challenging situation of having to refuse business and not knowing when the situation might change.
The announcement from the Prime Minister fixes that and also provides an opportunity for families who have been separated by the border closure to be reunited.
However, it must also be pointed out that the announcement made by the Prime Minister only applies to US citizens coming to Canada.
Unfortunately, the Federal Government did not coordinate this re-opening with the United States, so Canadian citizens will not be in a situation to receive reciprocal approval for non-essential travel at the US border.
Strangely, when the Prime Minister was directly asked if he had contacted President Biden to advocate for a reciprocal treatment for Canadians at the US border by a reporter at a news conference earlier this week, the PM refused to answer the question.
That leads to my question this week:
Should the border re-opening have been coordinated on a reciprocal basis or do you support the current approach by the Prime Minister?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.