SACKETS HARBOR, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put the blame on Canada and its “contorted” politics for keeping the border with the United States closed to the vast majority of people
The border is only open to people who can prove a valid reason as part of essential work, but for people who want to spend the weekend across the border, want to visit relatives or own property in Canada haven’t been able to cross since it closed in March of 2020.
Schumer explained, “There’s some kind of political argument both in Prime Minister Trudeau’s own party, and between his party and other parties about how quickly to open up, and we’re caught.”
“We will proceed in a responsible step-by-step fashion at reopening, at allowing larger numbers of people to come to Canada,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We’re very hopeful that we’re going to be able to see new steps on reopening announced in the coming weeks.”
This week, Prime Minister Trudeau discontinued the required quarantine for Canadians traveling back from the United States. The change only applies to people already able to cross the border and doesn’t expand who’s eligible.
The restriction applies both to cars traveling across bridges and boats using maritime borders.
In Alexandria Bay, Uncle Sam Boat Tours has had to reroute its popular “Two Nations Tour” to stay in just one nation — the United States.
For the last 100 years, the tour brought people across the border to see Canada’s side of the St. Lawrence River, without those people ever leaving the boat.
Schumer called on Canada Tuesday, after similar pushes in the past, to come to a reopening agreement with the United States by July 21, when the current restrictions expire.
He says the border should open to people who are vaccinated, which is easy to prove at border check-points.
If Canada does not agree, Schumer says, the United States should do as much as it can on its own, including opening the border to Canadians and expanding eligibility for what’s considered essential like adding people with families or property in Canada.
“You can fly from Canada to the United States, but can’t cross the border. What sense does that make?” asks Schumer. “So they have all kinds of crazy rules going on because their politics on this issue is really contorted.”