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Gov. Little joins governors, premiers in calling for border reopening

Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks at a news conference Sept. 3, 2020, at the Statehouse in Boise.  (Idaho Statesman)
Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks at a news conference Sept. 3, 2020, at the Statehouse in Boise. (Idaho Statesman)

Idaho Gov. Brad Little joined two governors and two Canadian premiers in urging President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reopen the U.S.-Canadian border.

Little, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe sent a letter Friday calling for the two countries to “work together to reach an agreement that will allow for the movement of citizens, goods and tourists between our two nations beginning immediately.”

The border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020, devastating border communities and separating families between the two countries. Canada announced it would re-open the country to fully vaccinated Americans on Aug. 9, but in a surprising move Biden announced the U.S. border would remain closed to Canadians until at least Aug. 21.

“While some progress has been made, we must end these unnecessary delays and restore normal movement across our shared border,” the letter read.

The letter said the border closure has caused economic harm by halting the trade of goods and services between the two countries.

“For the well-being and future prosperity of both our nations, we must embrace personal responsibility by providing vaccinations to citizens seeking the vaccine, reduce mitigations that cause economic harm and encourage travel for commerce and tourism,” the letter read.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee sent a similar letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on July 16, calling for an immediate full or partial reopening of the border in British Columbia, specifically to assist Point Roberts, Wash. The small Whatcom County town requires travel through Canada to reach the other parts of Washington.

Inslee later said he was “extremely disappointed” in Biden’s decision to keep the border closed through Aug. 21.

“The time has come to at least partially reopen the U.S.-Canadian border,” he said.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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