Focus included outfitting, lodging, and tourism businesses
FORT FRANCES, ONTARIO INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MINNESOTA ~~~~~~ April 8, 2021 (LSN) Member of Parliament, Dan Mazier, met virtually with United States Congressmen and Minnesota State Senators to discuss the Canada-US border at a townhall event that attracted over 500 participants. Congressmen Pete Stauber and Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach invited Mazier to discuss the impacts of the Canada-US border closure and to seek potential solutions for the path ahead. The American delegation will be sharing the discussions with President Joe Biden
Since March 2020, the Canada-US border has been closed and as a result, many businesses in the constituency that Mazier represents have been struggling to make ends meet. Tourism, outfitters, and lodges were the main focus for Mazier heading into the meeting after hearing from local businesses who rely on American cliental. “Canada is not only home to world-class fishing and hunting opportunities, but also to some of the most dedicated lodge operators and outfitters. Outfitters and guides cannot afford to lose another black bear season, another duck hunting season, or another fishing season.” Mazier stated in his opening remarks.
Colleen Liske, Vice-President of the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association was pleased to hear that discussions are happening on the future of the border. “Outfitters and lodges were the first to close, the hardest hit, and will be the last to recover. Business has been completely decimated since the border closed and without a plan, these businesses that are a staple to many rural communities, risk closing forever.” Liske said. “We cannot afford continuous uncertainty. We need to develop a plan that considers the isolated areas we operate in and the customers who are already vaccinated” she added.
Mazier does not believe that there is a strong appetite from Canadians to reopen the border immediately, however, he does believe that there needs to be a plan. “Although we will not return to normal overnight, I believe that there needs to be a coordinated plan between our countries, to safely and gradually reopen our border. Too many local businesses rely on America to ignore this situation” he noted. Canada and the United States have the largest trade and travel bilateral relationship in the world.
The local MP also underscored the importance of family reunification and travel for health care and medical treatment. Mazier noted that the key to reopening the border will depend on getting vaccines into arms; something Canada is falling significantly behind on compared to their American neighbours. President Biden announced that by April 19th, every American who wants a vaccine will be eligible to receive one. “I encourage America to consider asking President Biden to send Canada more vaccines so we can speed up the border reopening because Justin Trudeau is clearly not working fast enough” suggested Mazier to lawmakers.
Some of the ideas that emerged from the discussion included an international travel corridor, an affidavit requirement for travelers, and direct transportation to hunting and fishing lodges in isolated locations. -30-
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