6/16/2020 - CHAMBER FAULTS EXTENSION OF CLOSURE OF BORDER TO NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
CHAMBER FAULTS EXTENSION OF CLOSURE OF BORDER TO NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
The North Country Chamber of Commerce is criticizing the announcement today that Canada and the U.S. have agreed to extend existing restrictions on border crossings to July 21, limiting cross border travel to specifically defined categories of essential travel.
"We fully expected another thirty day extension," states Garry Douglas, Chamber President, "but hoped there would be an accompanying commitment to develop potential phases for reopening linked to facts and performance rather than fear and feelings. It is an act of bi-national economic and social mismanagement of the world's most important social and economic partnership to again act so simplistically without providing any conceptual pathway forward."
Douglas reports that the North Country Chamber will continue its advocacy in Washington and Ottawa for the identification of interim steps that can potentially be agreed to prior to July 21, including "a thoughtful joint policy of metrics and step by step progress that will be considered."
The Chamber notes that commercial shipping between Canada and the U.S. remains uninterrupted. "But while this is highly welcome, especially to our region's bi-national supply chains, it misses how integrated we are economically," notes Douglas, "and how Canada-U.S. business is not merely about the movement of boxes but about relationships, meetings, site and sales visits and face to face partnering. It is not a fact to say the economic connections are unaffected because they are more and more affected each passing week. And the continued tearing of the special social fabric that binds our two peoples is also, as we have said, profoundly sad and very damaging."
Concludes Douglas, "We have never said this unprecedented measure isn't understandable in the face of an unprecedented health challenge. But it is absolutely past time that it be within some agreed framework providing the forward pathway in a clear and agreed way. That remains missing and that is unacceptable. An immediate bi-national strategic dialogue is called for."