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Monday, May 10, 2021

The Canadian/U.S. Border Conundrum/Double Standard

 by William L. Seavey Author, AmeriCanada?  Cross Border Connections and the Possibilities for Our 'One Big Town' (Amazon)

My wife, Canadian-born (Ontario), is a permanent resident of the U.S. (who retains her Canadian citizenship).  She would dearly love to visit her home country again...sometime...soon.
 
Before Covid Canadians and Americans could pretty much travel freely across the northern border (the 49th parallel).  After all, the U.S. and Canada are allies, share a big continent, most speak English, and there is no issue about "illegal immigration" and undocumented workers or refugees as there is between Mexico and the southern U.S. 

Which makes what is going on right now rather crazy.

It is true that Canada has had some serious outbreaks of Covid in Ontario and British Columbia, two provinces we would like to visit.  Eleanor has kin in Ontario and a family member has a condo in Victoria.  We also have friends in Victoria who regularly apprise us of border issues. (We both are fully vaccinated).

It is true that many Canadians--at least those not involved with tourism--are or have been skeptical of the value of American visitation much less emigration.  During the Trump years there was rancor and even spitefulness.  Donald Trump forced a renegotiation of the NAFTA accord, which became USMCA-- insisting there was unfairness in trade due to Canadian tariffs.  So he imposed some tariffs of his own.  

Yet Canada has been our most stable trading partner as we have been its most dependable source for nearly everything except lumber and dairy products..  (Now, in turn, Biden has appeared to be punishing Canada by freezing the Keystone Pipeline project in deference to his proposals for encouraging "green" energy.)

But none of this seems to be the reason why Canada side border officials are making life difficult for returning Canadians and vacationing Americans.  And the U.S. is virtually banning Canadiian visitors (even innocuous snowbirds). In the case of  Americans, they are simply not welcome in Canada unless they are involved with needed cross border trade or have some government-oriented function that involves the two countries.  

Canadians who are "stuck" in the U.S. and who arrive by plane are now required to quarantine in their home country for three days in a government approved hotel (of which there are several dozen).  Many say that these hotels are much worse than quarantining in their own homes--staff often doesn't follow the rules for sanitizing baggage etc.  And  they can be subject to a $3000 fine for not doing it.  IF they test negative for Covid, they can then go home for the remaining 11 days--but still in quarantine,  Several hundred Canadians have already been given fines, according to the CBC.

Good grief.

As an American married to a Canadian, I could possibly get permission to visit Canada but would also have to quarantine.
Since a vacation is rarely more than two weeks for us, we'd be ready to go home by the time we were "let out."  That's a non-starter.

Just to be sure, you should check the Canadian embassies in major cities (such as in San Francisco) for the latest rules and regulations.  Hopefully, they will change for the better by late summer or early fall.   I promised Eleanor another trip on the Rocky Mountaineer for our anniversary.  The company must really be hurting without American tourists.

______Seavey website: retirementpossibilities.net.  Phone (805) 395-1174

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