Sept. 2, 2020
Queen’s Park, Toronto
The realities of Covid-19 need to be appreciated for what they are so the Canada-US border is justifiably opened commencing in October. The facts supporting such a policy are at least the following:
- The primary risk justifying the border closure was the expectation of inviting infections from the USA with what was considered a potential large spike in family vacationers if the border was opened during the summer vacation period. This has ended now with kids back to school so this is no longer any risk at all.
- We’ve had thousands of truckers going back and forth across the border delivering goods every day for over 6 months now and I haven’t heard of one Covid-19 problem connected to that activity, not one.
- The large US second wave spike has been in the lower US States such as Florida, Texas and California where unthinking youth and local families flocked to crowded beaches because of their frustration with being holed up so long. These people don’t travel the hundreds of miles north to the Canadian border, they are basically homebodies and the youth component is now back to college so the risk from these areas is minimal at best.
- The positive testing numbers coming out of the US wherein the order of 700K daily tests are being done is suspect. One has to wonder how many positive tests relate to other virus infections including varieties of the flu. The science doesn’t seem to be there to discreetly separate such interactions in anything we’ve seen published? Flu bugs are always with us.
- Far north outfitting businesses catering to hunting and fishing clients are in danger of going bankrupt all across the country and Ontario has hundreds of such businesses now on the brink of survival. This situation is very significant to the livelihood of thousands of indigenous people in far northern communities that in some cases run their own businesses and often provide guide services to outfitting camps all across Canada. The hunting season is now upon us with October and November being the major focus for big game hunting in particular. American hunters that comprise the main client base come across and drive to these remote camps back in the bush and stay there effectively quarantined for weeks at a time and then drive straight home. These hunters present virtually no risk.
- The job losses in Canadian border towns are staggering with thousands of small businesses going bankrupt. These businesses rely in large part on cross-border shopping as do the friendly towns on the American side. Not only in border towns are businesses suffering greatly; it’s reported that up to 40% of Toronto restaurants will go out of business.
- College and university students are now crossing the border daily (Sault Ste. Marie for example re Lake State University attendance and American students coming over to Ontario’s Sault College and Algoma U) all observing the health protocols of masks and social distancing thus posing no real risk. If students are smart enough to be trusted to follow protocols so is the general population in border towns for Heaven’s sake.
Premier it’s time to stop the bleeding. We’ve learned how to live with Covid-19. Canada’s economy cannot stand this overkill control system being invoked any longer; you and your fellow Premiers along with the federal government have to face the realities of the day in a realistic way, both health-wise and economy-wise and do the right thing. You need to trust in the intelligence of citizens from both sides of the border, augmented by the Canada Border Services’ watchdog role, to be smart enough to follow health protocols as necessary and as required under the rules laid out for all to follow.
Ron P. Alton