Poilievre asks Biden to end border closure, permit unvaccinated Canadians into U.S.

A study published by researchers at the University of British Columbia in August 2023 found that the longer the closures remained, the less they benefited Canadians.

Poilievre asks Biden to end border closure, permit unvaccinated Canadians into U.S.
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After Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden publicly announced a deal to close Roxham Road, Pierre Poilievre asked his U.S. counterpart to permit unvaccinated Canadians to enter the U.S finally.

Poilievre told reporters that American citizens are no longer required to have their shots, and Canada allows unvaccinated Americans to visit. However, that has yet to be reciprocated by the Biden administration. 

"There are millions of good, decent, honourable people who, through a personal medical decision, are discriminated against at the border," said Poilievre. 

"I encouraged the president to lift those restrictions to allow them freedom of mobility."

However, the Biden Administration intends to formally end its COVID public health emergency on May 11 after making vaccination a prerequisite for entry by most international visitors.

Poilievre won his party's leadership in part to mounting a vocal opposition to COVID health restrictions, including mask and vaccine mandates.

His colleague, Conservative MP Ted Falk, said it is high time the U.S. allows unvaccinated Canadians to revisit their country, adding his American counterparts from North Dakota and Minnesota want the border restrictions lifted.

Falk met last month with Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota's 7th District and Congressman Pete Stauber of Minnesota's 8th District, who reported that folks on both sides of the border are tired of the delays in Washington.

"With COVID behind us and Canadian COVID restrictions a thing of the past, it is high time the Biden Administration stop dragging their feet and open the border to all Canadians," urged Falk.

At their meeting, the border restrictions were set to expire on April 11 but were later extended by Washington until May 11.

"The Americans close to our border feel very much that we're so similar in many ways that the restrictions shouldn't apply to us, but they do. They recognize that Canada has dropped all COVID mandates and restrictions at our border and that their citizens can travel freely back and forth unencumbered. And so, they'd like to see the U.S. Administration reciprocate and allow Canadians to move back and forth freely."

A study comparing data from 166 countries during the first 22 weeks of the pandemic said most targeted closures did little to curb transmission of COVID.

The February 28 report by researchers from York University's Global Strategy Lab observed global and country-level impacts of the border closures.

"People just assumed at the time that these measures were effective, but that's not necessarily the case," said Mathieu Poirier, the paper's lead author.

"Our study shows, using real-world data, that for most countries, in most situations, border closures are not going to be the best approach," he said.

Beginning in late January and throughout February 2020, some countries placed restrictions on foreign travellers from countries with high rates of COVID transmission. 

When the World Health Organization declared the pandemic on March 11, 2020, the study estimated that border closures impacted 95% of the world's population but did not impact COVID transmission. In contrast, early total border closures managed to reduce the transmission rate globally.

"While the global sum of targeted border closures implemented by February 5, 2020, was insufficient to slow the COVID pandemic, the global sum of total border closures implemented by March 19, 2020, did result in a statistically significant reduction in global COVID transmission," reads the study.

According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in June 2022, Canada was one of the strictest G10 countries in limiting international and domestic travel.

The federal government closed its international borders to foreign nationals, excluding Americans, on March 16, 2020, to limit the number of cases entering the country. A few days later, Canada and the U.S. closed their shared border to all but essential travel.

A study published by researchers at the University of British Columbia in August 2023 found that the longer the closures remained, the less they benefited Canadians.

It articulated that the social and economic disruptions caused by border closures were so significant that they should only be employed as a last resort.

"Given their moderate and uncertain impacts and significant harms, border closures are unlikely to be the best policy response for most countries. They should only be deployed in rare circumstances and with great caution," wrote the authors.

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