Keeping the U.S. – Canada border closed makes no sense. Infection rates and vaccination rates are roughly similar on both sides of the border. There are variants spreading already on both sides of the border, besides the restrictions weren’t tight enough to stop those anyway. The border has remained closed out of a desire to signal that the government is doing something (fear of foreigners plays in here) and bureaucratic inertia (status quo bias prevails when no one wants to be responsible for a mistake, outbreak or case cluster).
There’s finally some hope on the horizon and an expectation that the border may be re-opened July 21.
- Canada’s Prime Minister has said he won’t allow the border to be re-opened until 75% of his country’s population has been vaccinated. More than 75% of those eligible have received shots, they just need to overshoot now to compensate for children under 12 not being eligible.
- Trudeau says to expect border re-openings in ‘weeks not months’ so presumably the U.S. border (given reduced infection rates and high vaccination rates) would be among the first restrictions relaxed.
- Quebec and Ontario Premiers had been pressuring the national government to tighten restrictions further, but those calls have been muted.
- Technically the closure it mutual, but the U.S. goes along because they don’t want to be seen as weak and need their own closure as leverage to get Canada to open. The U.S. doesn’t fear the Canadian border as such and will open when Canada is ready.
This adds up to the possibility that the border closer may not be extended again. There’s no good reason for it, it’s just lack of political courage standing in the way. That would sure make things easier for Point Roberts, Washington.