There was an announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He said all non-essential travel between the two countries would continue for another 30 days.
Earlier, he had said that cross-border travel would restart “eventually but not for today.”
In the meantime, there was a discussion amongst experts on problems around the border closure with Wilson Task Force. They are a non-partisan group imposed with studying options to re-open the Canada – US border.
Some of the Task Force members include:
- Former politicians Anne McLellan and Jean Charest
- James Douglas and Christine Gregoire from the US
The panelists did provide their initial findings on how travel restrictions have affected border communities in the past year.
Experts Ask For Scientific Approach Along With Public Viewpoint
The agreement among the panelists was the re-opening of the border should have a backup of proper evidence. This evidence should be science-based, powered by appropriate data.
However, not many groups focus only on collecting this data.
According to Kathryn Friedman from the University at Buffalo, “Very few [organizations] focus on the border, and that’s a problem. Without the research, data, and great minds, border policy will be ad hoc and reactive.”
There was a warning by the experts that this will not be the last time for the authorities to close the Canada – US border. They gave the idea of starting a bilateral commission. This commission will involve the private sector that would meet regularly to discuss border problems.
The CEO of Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, Matt Morrison said, “Just like we had a 9/11 commission we should have a Canada-U.S. commission that could go on both sides of the border and see what can we do together to achieve the greatness of our people.”
The second hurdle would be coming to an answer to the border re-opening issue. Public opinion needs to accept this solution.
According to the latest Angus Reid Institute poll, most Canadians wish for the border to remain closed for all non-essential travel. Moreover, new policies need to address privacy affairs if border officials keep asking travelers to provide more personal information.
There was a recommendation by Bill Anderson from the University of Windsor. He said that large-scale public relations efforts need to be put into use. This will help manage fears and clarify needs to cross the border.
It is said that the Task Force will reveal their recommendations and findings in April.
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