COVID-19: Ottawa tries to convince Washington not to militarize the border

Ottawa is in talks with Washington to convince the Trump administration not to send soldiers to the border between the two countries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Thursday morning that this prospect is being considered by Donald Trump. Washington is said to be sending American soldiers 30 km from the Canadian border to protect the United States from illegal entry and the spread of the new coronavirus.

“Canada and the United States have the longest non-militarized border in the world and it is in the interest of both countries to keep it that way. We are in discussion with the United States on this issue, “said Mr. Trudeau who continues to meet the press outside the door of his residence even if the 14 days of voluntary isolation he had imposed on himself ended Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was more vocal. However, she declined to give details of this most recent Donald Trump plan.

“The position of our government, (…) already expressed directly to our American neighbors, is that (…) this idea of ​​sending soldiers to our border is unnecessary. The public health situation does not require this action. And on the Canadian side, we think it will not be appropriate given the very cordial relations between our two countries and given the military alliance that exists between our two countries, “said Ms. Freeland at the press conference which followed the Prime Minister’s daily outing.

Ms. Freeland wanted to reassure Canadians; even if they deploy their soldiers to the border, the Americans do not intend to obstruct trade or the circulation of goods, according to her.

“This is not the reason why Canada has taken such a strong position in our conversations with the Americans,” she insisted. Canada came to this rather because of the symbolic impact of such a gesture.

These discussions between Canada and the United States are taking place while it is north of the border that there is concern about the large number of COVID-19 cases among Americans. The eyes of Quebecers and Ontarians are particularly focused on the situation in New York State.

Since the Canada-US border on non-essential travel was closed on March 21, Trudeau and his ministers say they could possibly tighten border controls, but that is not yet discussed .

That was Mr. Trudeau’s message again on Thursday morning. “Ensuring a supply of food, medical supplies and necessary equipment from across the border is part of protecting Canadians,” he said.

Why impose quarantine

The Prime Minister explained on Thursday morning that his government decided to take advantage of a “number of people” who did not follow the 14-day segregation directive after returning from a trip. the Quarantine Act.

Since Wednesday, everyone arriving from abroad has been ordered to stay at home.

“Many people will follow these instructions. Health Canada will follow up with many people to verify that they are indeed in segregation. And if there are people who refuse to follow, well we have already seen several cases in the news where people have been arrested, ”warned Mr. Trudeau.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is the agency responsible for enforcing quarantine.

At a ministerial press conference attended by Dr. Theresa Tam, the agency’s chief administrator, it was explained that local public health authorities will be responsible for monitoring travelers who are quarantined at home. The federal authorities will be content with a few random checks.


The federal government continued its efforts to repatriate Canadians stranded abroad on Thursday.

On Wednesday, three Air Canada flights brought 800 Canadians to Morocco, Spain and Ecuador.

Friday, two Air Transat planes will pick up Canadians stranded in El Salvador and Guatemala.

Number of cases

The latest Canadian assessment is 3875 confirmed or suspected cases. There have also been 36 deaths related to COVID-19 disease.

Distribution of cases in the country, according to the latest provincial reports: 1,629 in Quebec, including eight deaths; 858 in Ontario, including thirteen deaths; 659 in British Columbia, including 14 deaths; 419 in Alberta, including two deaths; 86 in Saskatchewan; 73 in Nova Scotia; 67 in Newfoundland and Labrador; 36 in Manitoba; 26 in New Brunswick; five in Prince Edward Island; four in two of the three territories. No cases have been reported in Nunavut.

To these reports must be added the 13 cases among the 228 passengers repatriated from the cruise ship Grand Princess and held in quarantine at the military base in Trenton, Ontario, from March 10 to 24. Travelers who have recovered or were not sick returned home on Tuesday; the rest remained in quarantine.

According to the latest epidemiological data collected by the Public Health Agency of Canada, 58 percent of transmissions of the virus are community-based and 40 percent are from a traveler.

To date, more than 158,000 Canadians have been tested for COVID-19.

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