On Monday, the Canadian federal government will likely renew the closure of the border with the United States, but this time it might come with an indication as to when it will finally be re-opened for good.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Tuesday that Canadians can expect an announcement by next Monday on the easing of pandemic travel restrictions, but he warned that the rules won’t necessarily be relaxed immediately, but rather in a phased manner.
“Next week we’ll have more to say about measures that will be in place at both the land borders and the air arrivals at the four designated airports,” LeBlanc told a pandemic briefing Tuesday.
Estimates as to when the border will be re-opened range from Canada Day to Thanksgiving.
In an online forum organized by Politico, Representative. Brian Higgins predicted a Canada Day celebration at the Peace Bridge on July 1 where U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would meet to reopen the border.
“I think that would be a great demonstration of binational agreement, recognizing the good work of public health officials who guided us through this – and we’re just following their recommendations,” Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, said.
Another panelist was asked when the border might reopen and she thought September was more likely. “Politics always makes these estimates difficult, but I’m going to guess before the U.S. Labor Day,” said Laurie Trautman, director of the Border Policy Research Institute at the University of Western Washington.
The most pessimistic prediction was Thanksgiving and it came from Representative Bill Huizenga, a Michigan Republican and co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, although he didn’t specify whether he meant Canadian Thanksgiving Day, which is October 11 this year, or American Thanksgiving, which is on November 25.
As the vaccination numbers go up in Canada and COVID infections fall, the pressure is growing on the federal government to re-open the border with the U.S.
Global News reported Tuesday that western premiers will pressure Trudeau this week to release a detailed plan and timeline to reopen Canada’s international borders.
“There’s absolute consensus that we want to get back as quickly as possible to whatever normal will be, but we also expect the federal government to be leading on that question,” said British Columbia Premier John Horgan.