Trudeau says US/Canada border could remain closed considerably longer, adds snowbirds should consider skipping non-essential travel south this year

Courier file photo The Canada/US border has been closed for months, and is expected to remain closed for some time to come, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Winnipeg, MB – In a phone interview on Wednesday, October 14, with Winnipeg based podcast, The Start, hosted by Greg Mackling, Brett Megarry, and Lauren McNabb, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated the recommendation by Health Canada to avoid all non-essential travel – and said that piece of advice applies to Canadian snowbirds as well.

“Well, listen,” said Trudeau. “The first thing is, as you say, the recommendation is to avoid non-essential travel, and that’s for people’s own safety. I know there’s a lot of people very worried about what’s happening south of the border, in Flordia, in Arizona, in California, and in other places where the virus is not under control – far less under control than we are here.

“The challenges around the healthcare system being overloaded down there, and access to health insurance here – making sure you have coverage in case something does happen is a lot more difficult.

“For people’s safety, we really are encouraging them to follow Public Health advice, which means non-essential travel.

“We’re certainly hoping that we’re able to get through this second wave in Canada and things get better quickly, and we’re going to watch carefully to see how things are going in the United States as well, and encourage people to make smart decisions.”

Trudeau said while non-essential travel isn’t recommended, if someone makes the choice to travel, the government has no plans to keep individuals “imprisoned” in Canada. But he added people need to recognize the increased risks associated with travel outside the country.

When asked if the recommendation would be better suited as a mandate, Trudeau said that would overreach federal powers.

“People can make their own decisions,” said Trudeau, “but a travel advisory from the Government of Canada to not travel outside the borders unless it’s essential travel is about as strong as we can go.”

Trudeau also said the Canada/US border closure continues because the US is not “in a place” where the government feels the border can be safely reopened.

“As I said from the beginning, we will continue to make sure that Canadian safety is top of mind when we move forward.

“We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place.”

The US has now recorded 8.14 million cases of COVID-19, and 219,000 people have died.

The most recent border closure is set to end October 21, but sources say it will again be extended.