Pro IQRA News Updates.
The government is motivated to reconsider COVID-19 restrictions at the Canadian border due to the growing popularity of new Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, lawmakers from his caucus said Wednesday.
Several Liberal ministers confirmed that they are discussing whether to resume the mandatory use of the ArriveCan app for international travelers and COVID-19 border restrictions such as face masks which are due to expire on September 30.
Cabinet has yet to make a final decision but will meet Thursday afternoon.
That’s when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returned from the UN General Assembly, where he did not confirm whether his government was ready to lift, or change, any pandemic measures.
“Every step we take has followed the best recommendations and advice from medical experts, public health experts, and we will continue to do so,” Trudeau said at a news conference at the United Nations in New York City on Wednesday night. .
“I can assure you that when we make decisions about how we can move forward and change the situation around the various tools we have in place to keep Canadians safe, Canadians will be the first to know.”
Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault also said on Wednesday that the government would “follow the science” when asked about plans on Parliament Hill.
“We will continue to ensure that as we open up the economy, we do so in a systematic and respectful way,” he said.
Current border restrictions mean most foreign nationals are not allowed to travel to Canada unless they have completed a major series of approved COVID-19 vaccines, unless they qualify for an exemption. For most vaccines that means at least two doses.
Unvaccinated foreigners who fall into certain categories, such as temporary foreign workers, health care workers, or crew on airlines or ships, must undergo mandatory arrival tests and a 14-day quarantine.
Vaccinated travelers, including Canadian citizens, may also be selected for mandatory randomized testing – a system public health officials use as an “early warning system” for new variants of the virus entering the country.
Some Conservative lawmakers welcomed the possibility of ending COVID-19 restrictions for travelers on Wednesday, but said they didn’t understand what sparked this discussion – apart from a shift in political currents.
“I think it might have something to do with the science that changed on Saturday night when Pierre [Poilievre] crowned,” quipped Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu on her way to a Conservative caucus meeting.
Poilievre is a staunch opponent of the vaccine mandate, and his position on COVID-19 restrictions is a popular element of his leadership campaign.
Saskatoon–Grasswood MP Kevin Waugh said the possible change had something to do with the latest poll numbers.
“Finally they wake up, because we have a new leader and the polls aren’t favorable for the Liberals,” Waugh said. “I mean, they’re in trouble.”
Liberals deny Tories statement
Boissonnault rejected the Conservative suggestions outright.
“The steps we took during COVID had nothing to do with the Conservative party and the leadership at the time, and nothing they did on their part affected the way we govern, or the steps we took to keep it. Canadians are safe, ‘ he said on his way to the Liberal caucus meeting.
“As tourism minister, I want to see as many people come here as safely as possible, so we will continue to discuss this within the government.”
Federal ministers would not say what recommendations they plan to bring to their cabinet meetings, but assured their decisions would be guided by science rather than politics.
“As everyone knows, these measures are always reviewed on the basis of evidence, caution and epidemiology,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Wednesday.
Conservatives have criticized the government for its lack of transparency about the evidence used to inform COVID-19 public health decisions.
A case study by the international research group Pandemic and Borders published in April highlighted similar concerns.
“Claims about using scientific evidence to guide decisions have been made widely but with limited disclosure of what constitutes scientific evidence,” the researchers concluded after examining Canada’s pandemic border policy.
“Reliance on science-driven narratives, in this context, increases politicization in ways that ultimately undermine the use of science.”