OPEN Canada’s Borders to Extended Families/Visitors in September … IF They Isolate on Arrival

It’s time … or at least soon will be. Canada can’t keep its borders closed to extended family members, friends and visitors for years.

We need to start allowing entry of those from other countries in September, not just essential workers and immediate family relatives … if they are willing to isolate themselves here after arrival for a period designated by the Public Health Officials.

There is no valid reason to keep out ANYONE now ready, willing, able to isolate on arrival as required.

Of course I understand, and share, many Canadians’ disagreement, dislike and even disgust with US President Donald Trump. And I want the Canadian government … and Canadian consumers/shoppers … to retaliate against his latest attack on our country with new totally unjustifiable aluminum tariffs.

However, that is no reason to punish or hold hostage innocent American or Canadian citizens/families/friends … many of whom share our revulsion of Trump.

What a lot of people don’t realize is Canada’s border has already been opened to more than truckers, essential workers and diplomats.

Indeed, even visitors are already allowed … IF they are immediate family: dependent children, spouses, common-law partners, parents, step-parents, guardians of Canadians or even permanent residents … AND agree to isolate for 14 days on arrival.

You can read the whole list here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/travel-restrictions-exemptions.html

And that has overall worked very well for those who have qualified and self-isolated on arrival.

Time to expand the allowable list.

Let’s keep it real: Covid-19 will continue to be an infectious risk around the world for years and there is NO country, NO population that in the foreseeable future will be CLEAR of Covid.

So we must learn to live with it … and widen the list of those who can come here to well more than just immediate family… if they isolate.

That would still exclude day trippers, weekend or even week-long tourists: allowing entry to ONLY those planning to stay here for two weeks or more.

It’s time.

Canada cannot, and should not, ban extended family members/relatives/events/friends/tourists from other countries for many months more or years.

Canada’s bubble is ready to start growing.

The psychological impact on people separated long-term from so many family members, partners, friends for months or years more would be unnecessarily stressful and harmful.

And the fiscal damage to Canada’s economy ( business services, retail sales, equipment supply and services, high tech development, hospitality industry, hotels, resorts, restaurants, travel, tourism etc. etc.) is already enormous.

Readers of this Blog know how I called on Canada in the past to keep the borders closed as we fought the pandemic: http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/happy-canada-day-celebrate-a-great-country-and-keep-our-borders-closed-to-covid-mismanaging-nations/.

It worked. And now our Covid levels are down enough to start welcoming SOME others again.

There are millions of responsible people in many countries, even the US (they’re not all as stupid as some we see on TV), who have addressed Covid as responsibly as most Canadians, taking precautions, wearing masks, self-distancing … and are clear of Covid.

If they agree to follow our rules, isolate at their own expense on arrival as health officials prescribe, there is no good reason to keep them out for months, or years more.

Keeping Canada closed for many months more, barring even those willing to isolate on arrival, at this advanced stage of the pandemic fight, will just hurt many families/people/relationships and cost the country many BILLIONS of dollars in employment, growth, revenues.

Of course, there are those who just think we should keep almost everything closed everywhere and especially keep out Americans.

And yet, I suspect many of those same people probably also want Canada to provide more free housing for the homeless, more subsidized rental housing for the poor, more improved social, health and hospital services for everyone, including remote communities, more increased public spending on health/safety equipment/supplies, more CERB, Business, Student, Rental support programs … and, of course, more spending on clean air, water and all kinds of environmental projects.

Where do they think the money/revenues/taxes come from to fund all of that? .

We need to open up our economy and our country to the outside world … slowly, carefully … and that includes opening our borders again to those willing to follow our rules and show that they are Covid-free.

Harv Oberfeld

(Follow me on Twitter @harveyoberfeld.ca to get First Alerts of new Blog postings. No spam … just Alerts to new Blog topics.)

Posted in British Columbia, International, National | 6 Comments

Despite “WE” Scandal: Trudeau Still Maneuvering For Fall Election

Justin Trudeau looked terrible … and I’m not just referring to his growing “Che Guevara” appearance (minus only the beret and camouflage garb).

He also looked, and sounded terrible, as a leader, as a politician, as a witness during his appearance before the Commons Finance Committee over the now-abandoned “WE” Canada Student Service Grant.

You can get a good summary of details of the mess here:

So I won’t go into all the sordid details, disappointments, deceptions and disgraces here.

Trudeau and the Liberals just looked terrible in so many ways.

But voters, especially financially “benefitting” voters, have notoriously short …. and forgiving memories!

So depending on three things: the Ethics Commissioner’s degree of condemnation, progress in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic; and, most importantly, the results of polling the Liberals will be doing over the next several weeks … I believe Trudeau is still maneuvering for a possible federal election this Fall.

Just look at the signs:

Trudeau did not HAVE to appear before the finance committee: he volunteered to face the heat, the disdain, the ridicule, the condemnations etc. … even did a “mea culpa” (of sorts).

Why?

To avoid facing persistent and mounting Opposition and public demands he do so, and knowing if he had refused to appear, how bad that could be played, especially during an election campaign, even next year! Opposition GOLD in any debates; but now he can tell voters he DID face the music, he DID apologize and he DID learn (again?) from his “mistakes”.

By the way, if you wonder why Trudeau refused to detail out loud ANY figures of amounts paid to family members as part of the “WE” debacle, despite several attempts by the Opposition to get him to do so: he didn’t want to serve up audio/visual “clips” for use in campaign ads of the Liberal leader saying how much is mother, brother etc. were handed in cash/expenses.

Quotes of “I apologize” or “I’m sorry” are much less usable by the Opposition.

Now Trudeau is pressing on with what sure look like more pre-election goodies … on top of the hundreds of billions of dollars already handed out.

Just after his Finance Committee hearing, the Prime Minister announced his government will spend BILLIONS more to extend the Covid Business Rental subsidy program, and also extend/expand CERB coverage for workers, transitioning it into Employment Insurance coverage after CERB expires, even handing out cash to voters … oops, I mean workers … who would not normally qualify for EI coverage.

How generous!

I believe most Canadians support that spending: benefitting themselves; or knowing family and friends who do; and, understanding the community need to support those suffering through the pandemic.

Something Trudeau could try to take advantage of in a Fall election.

Blog readers will recall that, at the beginning of June, I first predicted Trudeau will hold a Fall election, rather than wait until next year. (http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/watch-for-trudeau-and-horgan-to-call-early-elections/).

Other media types predicted a Fall election weeks after I did, but several have since backed off, citing the “WE” fiasco.

I get it; I understand.

BUT IF the Ethics Commissioner’s findings are not insurmountable, if Covid remains well contained and the polls stay favourable, Trudeau and his Liberal strategists are still keeping the Fall option open … wide open.

And what better sign than if Trudeau soon shuffles his Cabinet: a tried and true way for leaders to push political scandals behind, get rid of or at least shift around Ministers responsible for, or tagged to take the blame for problems, embarrassments and satisfy public demands for “action”.

Remember, despite all the “WE” revelations, condemnations etc. public polling last week showed Trudeau/Liberals are STILL preferred by many Canadians to govern the country.

You can read a summary here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-we-controversy-polls-1.5666287

And don’t forget: the Conservatives will just be beginning “rebuilding” with a new leader this month; the NDP have a leader already rejected once by most voters; and a testy, embarrassed Bloc Quebecois leader is under a cloud over alleged sexual misconduct.

Why would Trudeau wait for the Opposition parties to strengthen?

If the report of the Ethics Commissioner offers “survivable” chastisement(s); if the Covid numbers continue to be good and the crisis remains fairly well-handled; and, the Liberals’ own polling over the next several weeks holds up, watch for Trudeau to: invite, taunt, challenge and pressure the Opposition to defeat his minority government and force an election this Fall.

And despite all their blustering, if they don’t bite to “defeat” Trudeau’s minority in the Commons … knowing their own weaknesses right now and seeing the polls as well … don’t put it past Trudeau to react to their constant critiques with a “Let the people decide!” excuse to visit the Governor General and ASK for an election to restore “confidence” in his government.

Although I doubt he’ll mention it: I’m sure he’d also like to do it BEFORE all the BILLIONS of dollars in Covid spending have to be addressed, somehow, next fiscal year.

Happy BC Day!

Harv Oberfeld

Reminder: you can receive First Alerts of all new postings on this Blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam, just First Alerts to new topics up for discussion.)

Posted in British Columbia, National | 21 Comments