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It’s time to re-open the Canada-U.S. border

Weyburn Review editorial

It’s time for the federal government to do the responsible thing and open the Canada-United States border.

It is possible to accomplish this in a phased-in approach, since we’re close but not quite at the finish line in terms of COVID-19, but the numbers of those who are vaccinated are reaching the point where the border could be safely and responsibly reopened.

There are demands on both sides of the border for this to become a reality, and it needs to happen.

This is important for the Canadian economy, and for the well-being and mental health of all concerned – just ask the many families who have been split apart by the border because of the pandemic.

Admittedly, part of the hesitancy could be the disparity of numbers who are vaccinated, as Canada is not looking very good compared to our southern neighbour – but there are efforts underway here to get needles into arms.

In the midst of the pandemic, the numbers were reversed, as the U.S. was one of the worst countries on earth for COVID-19 infections, and closing the border was the only real option to keep us safe.

Now, however, the numbers of COVID cases are going down and in the States, 42.6 per cent of the country is fully vaccinated.

Unfortunately, due to the Canadian government’s incompetence in securing adequate supplies of COVID vaccines, this country is far behind.

About 62.5 per cent of Canadians have received their first dose, but only three million or 8.2 per cent of Canadians are fully vaccinated as of June 8.

A total of 26.7 million doses of vaccine have been administered, and 89.4 per cent of vaccines in Canada have been administered – and that means there’s still a lot of work to do to get second doses out.

On a positive note, Saskatchewan was one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to tie re-opening plans to the level of vaccinations, and more provinces need to get on board with this and get those second doses out.

Even here, though, the rollout of second doses could be moving much faster than it is – but again, this is dependent on vaccine supplies, and ultimately that is the responsibility of the federal government.

A former president used to have on a sign in the Oval Office that stated, “The buck stops here.” In our case, Ottawa is where the buck stops, and they need to get on the ball to ensure Canadians can get vaccines.

The finish line in terms of removing public health restrictions is tentatively set at July 11 here in Saskatchewan, and this seems to be do-able at this point – but in large part, this depends on the federal government to make sure the vaccines are delivered.