Canada Trudeau and Doug Ford continue war of words over border controls, COVID testing for domestic flights

01:05  14 may  2021
01:05  14 may  2021 Source:   nationalpost.com

Maybe border restrictions could be tighter — but Ford is in no position to cast stones

  Maybe border restrictions could be tighter — but Ford is in no position to cast stones Ontario Premier Doug Ford — previously a big fan of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland — is suddenly very eager to let Ontarians how unhappy he is with how Justin Trudeau's government is handling the pandemic. Ford's office sent a news release to reporters at Queen's Park on Tuesday to alert them to the fact that the provincial government had sent three "urgent" letters to the federal government calling for stricter border measures to better screen travellers to Ontario for COVID-19. Ford's Progressive Conservative party has also now purchased ads on Facebook to criticize the federal government's handling of the border.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is escalating his battle with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the border, demanding that more be done to stop variants coming in and complaining that his government’s previous requests haven’t been acted on.

Trudeau, meanwhile, accused Ford of playing political games instead of working together to extinguish the third wave.

In a letter to Trudeau dated May 12, Ford said his government has made three requests since April 22 around reducing incoming international flights, mandating pre-departure testing for domestic air travellers entering Ontario, and requiring a three-day hotel quarantine for land border crossers at Canada’s busiest entry points.

‘Nothing will dissuade’ Ford from continuing with sports lockdown

  ‘Nothing will dissuade’ Ford from continuing with sports lockdown Prepare yourself, Ontario, for two more weeks of no-sports misery. Although sports organizers — on behalf of millions of frustrated, idled, even depressed young athletes across the province — are valiantly fighting back against the Ontario government’s current ban, it’s all for naught, apparently. Postmedia has learned Premier Doug Ford’s office told tennis leaders this week it has no plans to budge from its decision early last month to prevent hundreds of thousands of Ontarians from playing their sport of choice before May 20, when province-wide emergency lockdown measures are scheduled to expire.

“To date, there has been no action on any of these requests and no indication that anything is coming,” said Ford’s letter. “In the past two weeks alone, 40 domestic and 24 international flights landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport with confirmed cases of COVID-19.”

The letter also said 172,000 individuals, excluding essential truck drivers, have crossed Canada’s international border in the past two weeks.

Ford has put Ontario into a strict lockdown to fight a massive third wave that hit the province this spring. He’s faced heavy criticism both for not acting earlier to stop the spread, and for shuttering outdoor activities such as golf and tennis despite many experts arguing these are safe activities.

On Thursday, Ford announced the lockdown — including a stay-at-home order — would be extended until at least June 2.

Domestic flights account for 80% of COVID-19 cases among air travellers

  Domestic flights account for 80% of COVID-19 cases among air travellers Between April and May, 226 domestic flights had passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 compared to 50 planes entering Canada from an international route, federal data shows.A Global News analysis on Monday of government information on exposure from air travel between April and May of this year showed that 226 domestic flights had at least one passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 compared to 50 planes entering Canada from an international route.

Trudeau, appearing on Toronto TV station CP24 Thursday morning, rejected Ford’s letter as a political game.

“I find it kind of frustrating and disappointing that the province is still trying to point fingers,” Trudeau said. “We’re there to continue to support Ontarians through this difficult time in whatever ways are necessary. It’s just unfortunate that Doug Ford continues to play politics.”

Trudeau also argued that his government has asked which travellers Ford wants to see restricted, such as international students or temporary foreign workers.

“They never told us,” Trudeau said. “We started working with them the very next day, they still haven’t said what categories they want to restrict, how they want to reduce international arrivals.”

Ontario’s cases have been trending downward since the lockdown was implemented, though the number of people in intensive care units due to COVID-19 remains at the highest level since the pandemic started. More than half of all adults in the province have now received at least one vaccine dose.

But Ford warned in his letter that the border must still be addressed to stop more cases and variants coming in.

“Given the continued urgency of these issues, and the need to avoid a potential fourth wave of COVID-19 through our borders, your urgent attention to these specific requests is needed as quickly as possible,” he said.

• Email: bplatt@postmedia.com | Twitter: btaplatt

Calls grow for Canada, U.S. to provide ‘vision’ on how border could reopen .
Given the progress on COVID-19 vaccine coverage in both countries, one U.S. lawmaker believes it's time to rethink the current rules at the border. "As opposed to announcing another closure, let's say that when 30 to 60 days (passes), we can look at that category of essential travel or to include more travellers, in recognition of the availability of vaccines and the distribution and administration of vaccines," he said. Video: ‘No one expected it to last this long’: Canada-U.S. border restrictions near 1-year mark The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is of the same thinking.

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