Canada in talks with the U.S. to avoid troops at the border, says Trudeau

Canada in talks with the U.S. to avoid troops at the border, says Trudeau
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WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is in talks with the United States in hopes of avoiding the deployment of American soldiers along their shared border.

Trudeau says it is in the best interests of both countries that the world’s longest unmilitarized border remain that way.“Canada and the United States have the longest un-militarized border in the world and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way,” he said.

The prime minister says Canada and the U.S. have been in discussions about the issue, but won’t elaborate. However deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland stated that Canada is “strongly opposed” to the idea. ” We have made that opposition very clear to our american counterparts,” she said.

The two countries already have a mutual ban in place on non-essential travel, but the movement of trade, commerce and cross-border workers has been allowed to continue — a clear sign that both Ottawa and the White House share a belief in the economic importance of avoiding a complete closure.

But President Donald Trump has long been seized with securing his country’s southern border with Mexico, and has recently been talking about fortifying those efforts under the pretence of protecting Americans from the novel coronavirus.

On Monday, the U.S. announced a 30-day agreement with both Canada and Mexico that includes immediately returning any illegal migrants to the countries from which they arrived, or to their countries of origin if that isn’t possible, rather than holding them at facilities in the U.S.

“To help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into our border facilities and into our country, aliens subject to the order will not be held in congregate areas for processing by (Customs and Border Protection) and instead will immediately be turned away from ports of entry,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement earlier this week.

“Those encountered between ports of entry after illegally crossing the border similarly will not be held in congregate areas for processing and instead, to the maximum extent feasible, will immediately be returned to their country of last transit.”

As part of that trilateral agreement, Canada has also agreed to send so-called “irregular” migrants who cross the border somewhere other than at an official port of entry back to the United States.

The U.S. has confirmed over 74,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 1,000 deaths. Meanwhile Canada has reported 3,555 confirmed cases of the virus and 35 deaths.

Canada has also now imposed a mandatory quarantine on anyone entering the country, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19; violators face the prospects of steep fines or even jail time if caught.

Our most powerful weapon is that we know what it is and we can learn from people who have already suffered through it

Looking back at how politicians reacted, how the public felt and what was normal just a week ago makes the change even more abrupt

We may dodge a big bullet here. ... But we may well end up in a situation where we have to make some very tough ethical decisions
Read more on National Post
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