Written by Mark Moore for the New York Post on July 5, 2020
More than two dozen members of Congress in states along the US-Canadian border are seeking to expand travel between the two countries and develop a coordinated plan to reopen the northern border.
New York Reps. Brian Higgins, a Democrat, and Elise Stefanik, a Republican, were among those who sent a letter Friday to acting US Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and the Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair to ask them to develop guidance for reopening the 5,525 miles of border.
Restrictions have been in place since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, and have since been extended until July 21.
Higgins and Stefanik, co-chairs of the Northern Border Caucus, said a plan to reopen is important because it affects the economies of communities on both sides of the border.
“There must be bi-national coordination to develop a plan to safely allow for reasonable travel taking into account public health considerations but acknowledging our unique interconnected economies,” the two wrote in the letter.
“The movement of people and goods across the border in a safe and responsible way will also require individuals to be disciplined in their own communities and abide by the safety precautions prescribed by their public health officials.”
But a recent national survey conducted by Destination Canada, a company that markets Canada as a tourist spot, found that our northern neighbors might not be thrilled with the idea.
Only 24 percent of people in Quebec “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed with welcoming US visitors — and that was the most enthusiastic province.
British Columbia was the least enthusiastic at 6 percent, and Ontario occupied the middle ground of 13 percent.
“Canadians look at what’s happening with the spread of covid in the United States and their comparatively better performance at getting it under control,” Edward Alden, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Washington Post. “And they have no interest at all in Americans coming to Canada.”
The survey was released on June 23.
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