What’s Going To Happen To The U.S. Canadian Border Next Week Once The Closure Term Expires?

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The land border between the U.S. and Canada has now been locked down for regular crossing since March of 2020, always extended on a monthly basis and July 21st is the next time a decision has to be made.

Political pressure mounts on both sides of the border to find a solution but Canada’s government will have none of it so far, holding out for a 75-85% vaccination rate that will likely never materialize.

Leaders of the business community, political figures and everyday people with friends and family across the border are getting angry yet their concerns are being totally ignored in Ottawa it seems.

Last month we thought there would be something happening but it was again a big bubble that burst as far as land border crossings are concerned since the closure was extended until July 21 which is coming up next week.

In the meanwhile Canada has made some adjustments to the ridiculous $2000 quarantine hotel regulation for traveling Canadians who are returning home as vaccinated individuals no longer have to subject to that.

Politico had an interesting article today highlighting that tensions are high between the Trudeau government and pretty much all other parties who have a stake in being able to travel again.

U.S. lawmakers are calling on Canada to open the border “immediately” to fully vaccinated travelers, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will proceed with caution.

“We’ve seen a success where Canadians are able to come back to Canada if they’re fully vaccinated and not have to quarantine,” Trudeau told reporters in Gaspé, Quebec on Wednesday, adding recent minor changes to restrictions have gone “extremely well.”

He dialed back the optimism by urging continued vigilance, alluding to ongoing concerns about the Delta variant and jurisdictions that had to reintroduce restrictions.

Trudeau made his comments hours after Midwest legislators unanimously passed a resolution that calls on the White House and Canadian government to reopen the border “immediately” to fully vaccinated travelers.

“The reality is we know how unbelievably costly and heartbreaking it would be to fall into a fourth wave of this pandemic,” the prime minister said. …

Scotty Greenwood, chief executive officer of the Canadian American Business Council, was invited to speak at the Rapid City, S.D conference about the private sector and supply chains.

“Then we also talked about the border closure,” Greenwood told POLITICO. “A fairly animated discussion emerged with legislators, expressing a lot of frustration about the continued closure of the Canada-U.S. border, particularly typically vaccinated Americans.” …

Trudeau has repeatedly said that his government has been making its pandemic-related decision based on science and public health recommendations. Canada’s chief public health officer suggested border-related announcements rest with Trudeau. …

The Trudeau government previously signaled border-related restrictions won’t change until at least 75 percent of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated. …

I’m not a fan of these political stunts of local lawmakers such as passing resolutions in a state government body. Such resolutions aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on and rarely taken serious in Washington, let alone another country. You can’t dictate Canada how to design their border policy but of course this is turning the pressure up in terms of keeping the discussion alive and inspiring especially business lobbies to take action.

The question is, how long can politicians who seem to be drunk on power over the last year resits the demands of constituents before it all becomes a powder keg waiting to blow?

The expectation of having a vaccination rate of 75% or even higher is likely science fiction – it won’t happen. So what are the contingency plans, keeping the land border closed indefinitely and forcing people to utilize complicated and costly ways to circumvent the regulations?

Quarantine regulations were only required for arrivals by air. The way many people did it is to just fly to the U.S. and then take a land border back home as Canadian citizens. Transportation companies such as shuttles and limousines have been making a killing with this in 2021, especially in areas such as Washington State (Bellingham), Northern Michigan and New York.

CTV reported that for now no solution is in sight and that the U.S. might act on their own which would of course only benefit Canadians, not Americans as far as travel is concerned.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who represents the border state of New York, urged the two countries to come up with a mutual plan to reopen the border as soon as possible — and failing that, for the U.S. to take unilateral action.

“If an agreement cannot be reached the United States must do two things,” Schumer said in a statement last week.

“Expand the definition of essential travel to include vaccinated Canadian citizens with family, property, educational, medical, or business interests (in the U.S.), and unilaterally open the northern border to those vaccinated Canadians.”

This plan would at least let revenue flow into the U.S. again and if Canada wants to remain closed then so be it. Eventually there will be elections again in either country and it’s up to the voters to decide if their interests have been preserved by those currently holding office.

That being said there are likely very few people for whom the matter of land border travel is a pressing priority, certainly it won’t be a majority and Canadians are still allowed to travel abroad by plane.

Conclusion

The current term for land border closure ends on July 21st and so far there are no signals of fundamental changes as Trudeau and his government are apparently totally fine with sitting tight and holding people in check.

For the U.S. to go alone would be a good first step to see if Canada is just bluffing or if they’ll shrug it off and continue their isolation that’s been going on for well over a year now.

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