THUNDER BAY – Local federal candidates have weighed in on Canada’s handling of the border and international travel during the COVID – 19 pandemic.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s response has been based on the best scientific advice and expertise. We have in place some of the most robust entry requirements of any country. “Patti Hajdu, Liberal incumbent for Thunder Bay - Superior North, said,
“We continue to use science to guide our border measures, including the need for all travelers to submit to a PCR departure test 72 hours prior to arriving in Canada, and the mandatory random screening on arrival. All unvaccinated Canadian travelers must continue to abide by a 14 day, mandatory quarantine. I thank all the civil servants at the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada Border Services Agency and Transport Canada for their hard work in maintaining these measures.”
The NDP Candidate for Thunder Bay – Superior North Chantelle Bryson says we should have looked to other countries and how they handled the spread of COVID – 19.
“Anyone familiar with the SARS coronavirus final report from 2006 and pandemic preparation knows that it is required to take the greatest precautions available until you know exactly what type of virus and transmissibility is engaged. Full PPE should be used immediately and borders heavily restricted.“ Bryson said
“Australia and New Zealand took this approach which saved enumerable lives, especially the elderly and vulnerable, protected their economies and allowed their citizens to maintain a more normal day to day life aside from targeted shutdowns. “
Green Party Candidate for Thunder Bay – Superior North also felt that the Liberal government’s handling of the situation was just not up to snuff.
“With regards to the borders and international travel -- Patty dropped the ball on closing the borders in the first place, saying that to do so and protect Canadians was simply racist. We had to close the borders because it was critical for the protection of Canada and Canadians to do so. It was Patty's job to close these borders when she was first made aware of the Pandemic's spread. She decided to just not do it, and divide Canadians by saying that anyone who thinks we should close the borders is a racist.” Moddejonge said,
“What we need now, and what we've needed since this pandemic affected Canada is more robust testing. We now know that vaccines alone do not stop the spread of COVID. We need to know how many people are actively and directly affected by this virus in real time. We also deserve to know how many survivors of this virus we have, and currently there is no antibody testing available in Thunder Bay whatsoever.”
Peoples Party of Canada candidate for Thunder Bay – Superior North, Rick Daines calls the handling of the border by the Liberal government a leadership failure.
“The situation at the border should have much clearer direction. Everyone should be fully aware of any and all requirements and that starts from the top. So in essence another leadership failure by the Liberal government,” Daines said.
“The PPC would make plans in consultation with border management to ensure there is clear direction and in consultation, ensure that plans would be workable and sensible for everyone involved.”
The Conservative Party Candidate for Thunder Bay – Superior North, Joshua Taylor, says Canada should have closed the border much sooner.
"So much of everything at the beginning of this pandemic was political posturing. We tried to keep our borders open for as long as possible to give off the appearance that we weren't xenophobic. At the end of the day, countries that implemented strict international border closures were in a better position than us. The pandemic itself isn't the fault of any Canadian party, but there's no denying it could have been handled much better" Taylor said.
UPDATE: This story has been updated with comments from Conservative candidates who were not initially included due to a communication issue on Tbnewswatch's end.