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Delta Chamber Calls for Immediate Action for US-Canada Border Access Equity

July 22, 2021 - Yesterday Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Perrin Beatty issued the following statement on the decision of the United States government to extend travel restrictions at land border crossings. “On February 23 U.S. President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau issued a ‘Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership’ stating ‘Both leaders agreed to take a coordinated approach based on science and public health criteria when considering measures to ease Canada-U.S. border restrictions in the future.’ Less than five months later, Washington appears to have lost its copy.

In contrast with its commitment, the U.S. decision is uncoordinated with Canada’s announcement on Monday of a border reopening, and it flies in the face of both science and the most recent public health data. It’s hard to see how allowing fully vaccinated Canadians to enter the U.S. poses a public health threat when travel within the U.S. is unrestricted. Vaccination rates in Canada are higher than in the US and infection rates are dramatically lower. Additionally, the U.S. policy applies very different standards to travelers crossing at a land border than those who fly.

“Canada’s government must press the U.S. administration to reverse its policy. There is no justification for continuing to keep families apart and to discourage travel for both tourism and business. The economic and social costs are simply too great.[i]

U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, stated that the U.S. administration’s decision will prove to be doubly damaging as American residents will soon be able to spend money across the border in Canada while Washington border towns will be denied the mutual opportunity of visitors from Canada.

“This action is short-sighted and devastating to our border communities. Businesses and families in Whatcom County, particularly in Point Roberts, were praying this was the month the border would reopen,” said DelBene, whose district includes Point Roberts, in a statement.[ii]

Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce President Brian Calder recently explained that the community “need[s] Joe Biden, President of the United States, to say, ‘Yes, we’ll allow Canadians into Point Roberts’ because they’re [Canadians are] 90 percent of our economic activity. They own 75 percent of our real property here. They supply our water and power. They are the most important thing to the survival of Point Roberts, which economically is very threatened.[iii]

Delta Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Garry Shearer strongly agreed with Beatty, explaining that, “The relationship between Delta and Point Roberts, Washington is a unique and mutually beneficial one. Many Canadians own properties and pay taxes in Point Roberts. They consider it their second home. They invest in the community, support the small businesses, and care about the well-being of permanent residents there. The same is true of the Americans living in Point Roberts who come to Delta to visit family and friends, access shops and services, and travel to other parts of the continental United States. Keeping the US border closed to fully-vaccinated Canadians only continues to further the economic devastation for the small businesses in Point Roberts and negatively impact residents on both sides. Canada’s federal government must strongly lobby the US administration to reverse this decision and provide equitable land crossing access to fully vaccinated Canadians August 9th.”

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The Delta Chamber of Commerce is a non-partisan, member-based organization of business and professional people, which works to promote our members’ collective commercial interests; to build a healthy economy and improve the quality of life in our community and to advocate for the interests of the Delta business community with all levels of government.

[i] Canadian Chamber: Continued border closure by US defied science and logic, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, July 22, 2021

[ii] Biden’s border decision extends pain for Point Roberts residents, The Seattle Times, July 21, 2021

[iii] Point Roberts residents hope Canadians will be able to travel south of Canada-U.S. border, News1130, July 17, 2021

 

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