Canada’s current ‘All or Nothing’ Border Closure is Nonsensical

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on August 6, 2020

One thing that has truly been an odd choice in trying to combat COVID-19, has been the insistence in a total border closure seemingly until all health risks have been eliminated. It has made for a perfect example of why the federal government is not the best judge of what policy across Canada should be, as this current ‘all or nothing’ approach to the border closure doesn’t make sense for the vast majority of Canada.

Back in the middle of July, 29 American members of Congress had sent a letter to the Canadian government urging for the opening of the US-Canada border. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland denied the request saying that the government’s priority is the health and safety of Canadians. Nothing but vague details are ever given in support of the continued closure.

This might just be more Eastern bias within the Canadian government; other than the small upticks in COVID-19 cases in July, mostly in Ontario, the pandemic has mellowed out in the rest of the country, despite the spread of mandatory mask legislation.

If Canadians have to wait for cases of COVID-19 to flatline across the entire country before the border can be reopened then we may not see the border open for years. The other day Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that physical distancing, mask-wearing and other COVID-19 restrictions could remain for up to 2-3 years, so it isn’t too hard to see the federal government continue to push back the date for the US-Canada border to be opened up to non-essential travel again.

In the current situation we are in the federal government’s insistence on an all or nothing approach to the border is nonsensical. It is obviously coming from a very lopsided view of what matters in Canada when higher COVID-19 case numbers in Ontario and New York justifies the border remaining closed between British Columbia and Washington state.

A recent example of the backwards nature of the federal government’s current policy is the continuing border closure between Hyder Alaska, and Stewart British Columbia.

The 80 people who live in Hyder have been cut off of easy access to essential services they accessed in the larger town of Stewart (population: 400).

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Right now people in Hyder can go over the border into Stewart, but are only being allowed one day per week to go over the border to get necessary supplies. Those who do make a trip are still required to quarantine for 14 days after they have returned. 

The mayor of Stewart regarding this situation said, “When the restrictions went into place in March, nobody thought that four-plus months later, here we would be with the same restrictions.” The federal government is likely thinking in far too much of a macro scale to care about the needs of small towns like these.

The headaches caused by the continued totalizing border closures could be alleviated if the Canadian federal government would allow provinces or other local areas to decide whether or not individual border crossings can open or not. 

It seems increasingly silly for the current restrictions to pretend that it is dangerous for Albertans to take a trip down to Montana, or for Manitobans to go across the border to North Dakota. 


Both the US and Canadian economies could use some tourism dollars. If Trudeau’s Liberal government doesn’t want to be increasingly blamed for the poor economic conditions then it would be wise of them to get out of the way and allow the Canadian economy operate, without one arm tied behind its back.

The government should be able to handle the concept of a targeted approach to border crossings being opened. The downfall of the Canadian healthcare system won’t occur if the people of Hyder are able to freely go about their business in Stewart, as they did before COVID-19.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

5 responses to “Canada’s current ‘All or Nothing’ Border Closure is Nonsensical”

  1. Jsckson Bell says:

    Not until the Yanks have cleaned up their act

  2. Jsckson Bell says:

    Not until the Yanks have cleaned up their act

  3. Jsckson Bell says:

    Not until the Yanks have cleaned up their act

  4. Garry Christie says:

    If the Americans would stop infecting each other and do as thehealth experts ask instead of speading the infection it might be there right to not wear buts its not there right to cause death to many peopie because they dont comply or is it there right to cause me to get the virus i have a daughter and family living in the USA less than 2 mile i havent physically seen her since March we both realize becsuse of my age and health this is best but dont like it wake up America your killing each other and justify it by saying its your right

  5. Brahm Zuckerman says:

    It seems that it isn’t only the Idiotic Government we have destroying the economy. But I see most people supporting the Idiotic Government destroying the economy.