Gladu joins calls to open the border

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Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

Marilyn Gladu is joining the chorus of many Conservative MPs to reopen the Canada US border.

In March 2020, the US and Canada agreed to restrictions to the longest unprotected border in the world to stop the spread of COVID-19. Essential services including delivery of goods to Canada were maintained but the movement of people visiting family, for example, stopped. The measures have been renewed month by month and no changes are expected to be made now until July 21.

Business leaders, particularly those in the tourism industry, have been calling on the federal government to come up with a plan for the border opening. Those calls have been echoed by lawmakers in the US, mostly from bordering states.

The federal health minister announced fully vaccinated Canadian travellers could leave and reenter the country without quarantine starting July 5. But that doesn’t apply to inbound Americans.

Minister Patty Hayjdu said this week that the government will come back “in the near future” with a plan to reopen. The prime minister has suggested about 75 per cent of Canadians would need their first COVID-19 vaccine and 25 per cent should be fully vaccinated before restrictions ease.

But Sarnia-Lambton’s MP want the government to act now. Gladu issued a press release Wednesday morning calling for the “full and safe reopening” of the border. She says the federal government has “utterly failed Canadians through this pandemic” with inconsistent and punishing” border controls and a vaccine rollout that Gladu claims put us six months behind other countries.

Health Canada data shows 67.5 per cent of Canadians have had their first dose of a COVID vaccine and nearly 21 per cent are fully vaccinated. That compares with the US where 54 per cent of the country has received one dose and nearly 46 per cent are fully vaccinated. Across the border in Michigan, 50 per cent have received their first dose and 46 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Gladu has been working “desperate families separated by the border” with some success but it’s time to allow everyone to move forward.

“Families have been separated in the midst of disease and death, and property owners have been unable to attend their properties for more than a year. In light of the calls from our US counterparts to re-open the border, I urge the Liberal government to accelerate their plan to fully open the border with safety protocols that are appropriate.”