Closure of the worlds longest undefended border will begin in earnest on March 19 as Canada and the United States work out the details of banning non-essential travel between the two countries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump announced the ban Wednesday, intended to help curtail the rapid spread of COVID-19 without disrupting the flow of essential goods and services on which Canadians and Americans depend.
But details remained to be worked out, including the precise moment the ban is to go formally into effect and how border agents are to distinguish between essential and non-essential travellers.
Some of those details may become clearer today when Trudeau is to speak again outside his door at 11 a.m.
Canadians may also get a clearer sense of how quickly Parliament can approve legislation needed to free up the flow of $82 billion in promised financial aid and tax deferrals to help individuals and businesses weather the COVID-19 crisis, which has shut down much of the countrys normal economic activity.
The government aims to briefly recall Parliament, adjourned last week until April 20, sometime next week.
It is in discussions with opposition parties about how to minimize the number of MPs who will actually need to return to debate and vote on the legislation and how it can be rushed swiftly through both the House of Commons and the Senate, bypassing the usually lengthy legislative process.
Until details are hammered out, the ban on non-essential cross-border travel is bound to create some confusion at border crossings. Freeland made no apologies for that Wednesday.
“We are working right now in an exceptional time. We all understand that,” she told a news conference.
“What that means is as political leaders we need to operate a bit differently. We need to be in a position to take decisions very quickly and we need to be honest and open with Canadians about those decisions.”
Freeland said travel for recreation or tourism are examples of cross-border trips that wont be allowed.
“The queRead More – Source