Border between Canada and U.S. likely to close Friday night: Trudeau

Closure would target non-essential travel

The border between Canada and the U.S. will likely close sometime on Friday night or early Saturday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.

Speaking at his now-daily press conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Trudeau said the details on the non-essential border closure were still being worked out with the American government. The closure will affect non-essential travel, not trade and essential workers who may be employed in a different country than they live. However, Ottawa has not elaborated on how border guards will determine who that exception applies to.

“I think it’s almost there,” he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump suggested Wednesday that the travel ban would likely be in place for about a month, although timelines remain a moving target given the nature of the outbreak and a persistent lack of clarity about the scope and severity of the emergency.

Trump, a border hawk who has already banned foreign nationals who recently visited Europe from setting foot in the U.S., has characterized the agreement as something that would be “good for both countries” — a departure for someone whose “America First” rallying cry, disdain for free trade and stay-home foreign-policy preferences have helped forge his reputation as a self-interested isolationist.

That reputation has some Canada-U.S. observers marvelling at the co-operation, while others fear the goodwill could be short-lived.

The Canadian American Business Council is asking members to submit testimonials about the importance of commercial channels “to make the case that these measures not be broadened in the future to include commerce.”

Chris Sands, a cross-border scholar and head of the Canada Institute at the Washington-based Wilson Center, noted that the U.S. hasn’t exactly been working hand-in-glove with other countries — most notably China or Europe — when it comes to curbing the spread of COVID-19.

“It is the fruit of nearly two decades of efforts by the United States and Canada after the Sept. 11 attacks to adopt a shared border management approach that is data-driven, utilizing risk management to allocate personnel and technology to keep the border open to legitimate trade and travellers in an emergency,” Sands said in a statement.

Until the closure takes effect, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has been urging Canadians in the interim to honour the spirit of the agreement and resist the temptation to try to enter the United States if it’s not absolutely necessary.

Trudeau said Canadians abroad will be getting a text message connecting them to consular service. He reiterated the offer of a $5,000 loan offer for Canadians abroad to come home.

READ MORE: Trudeau unveils emergency fund to help Canadians stuck abroad due to COVID-19

READ MORE: Trudeau promises $82B in economic supports in COVID-19 fight

READ MORE: Canada-U.S. border closing to non-essential travel

– The Associated Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer County has three new confirmed COVID-19 cases

Government says Alberta up to 1,181 total cases

Rimbey textile artists creating hand-made masks

Group has also been helped out by a local business

107 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, 5 additional deaths

More than 1,000 cases in Alberta total

VIDEO: How doctors in Canada will decide who lives and dies if pandemic worsens

Officials in several provinces have been developing guides so that doctors don’t feel alone

A message from Central Alberta Co-op

Please remember to practice social distancing at all our locations.

Woman scared for brother in Calgary long-term care home with COVID-19 deaths

Woman scared for brother in Calgary long-term care home with COVID-19 deaths

Person connected to Red Deer College tests positive for COVID-19

‘I wish this individual well,’ says president

COVID-19 crisis distracting from flood-prone First Nation’s plight: NDP

COVID-19 crisis distracting from flood-prone First Nation’s plight: NDP

Judge sides with woman accused of spying for Russia, orders new hearing

Judge sides with woman accused of spying for Russia, orders new hearing

Ont. court upholds murder conviction in death of girl found in burning suitcase

Ont. court upholds murder conviction in death of girl found in burning suitcase

British cancelled, Masters to November in major rescheduling

British cancelled, Masters to November in major rescheduling

NFL going with virtual format for upcoming draft

NFL going with virtual format for upcoming draft

Most Read