Canada’s Prime Minister is holding the line against calls for a swift reopening of the U.S. – Canadian border.
Business groups and some politicians in both Canada and the U.S. may be leading that charge, but recent polling suggests most Canadians are happy to keep things the way they are – at least for now.
Monday, according to the Canadian Press reports via CTV, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau maintained that any relaxing of travel restrictions will be done “carefully and with Canadians’ safety in mind.”
He reiterated that the government is looking at certain conditions to be met prior to making changes to travel restrictions, including meeting a threshold of 75 per cent of vaccinated Canadians, and in addition, a daily decline in new cases of COVID.
“We all want to reopen, we all want to go back to travelling to see friends, take vacations, go on trips,” he said. “But we don’t want to have to close again, tighten up again because there’s another wave.”
The report points out the PM’s statement Monday comes amid reports that, with the exception of Manitoba, new cases of COVID-19 are dropping across Canada, and some provinces are easing pandemic-related restrictions as well as beginning to provide second doses of vaccines. On Victoria Day weekend, Canada reached a benchmark of 50 per cent of Canadians receiving their first dose of the vaccine.
Canadians On Board
That progress may increase pressure on the federal government to reopen the border, but recent surveys say everyday Canadians are happy to maintain travel restrictions for now.
Last week, Bloomberg reported that an Angus Reid poll found nearly half- 48 per cent – of Canadians say they don’t want to see the border with the U.S. open til at least September.
23 per cent want the border open now – but about the same amount of Canadians think non-essential travel to the U.S. should remain off-limits until the end of the year.
But Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Vancouver-based polling firm, told Bloomberg by email it’s still clear that, “people want to travel again,” and also acknowledged that, “ If you are one of millions of Canadians who work in the hospitality or tourism sector, you want to get back to work and see visitors return,” an observation that will strike a chord with any reader of Open Jaw.