Sault councillor wants regional approach to reopening U.S.-Canada border
SAULT STE. MARIE -- Coun. Matthew Shoemaker says he wants to see Sault Ste. Marie back a regional approach to reopening the U.S.-Canadian border.
Sault Ste. Marie City Council is set to vote on a motion Monday, asking the federal government to extend its border shutdown, but Shoemaker said eventually, that won't make sense anymore.
"Whether that's next month, two months, three months, six months from now, we can't keep the borders closed forever," he said. "But what we can do, is consider a regional approach, similar to that of Ontario."
That would include opening borders in sections of the country, where the risk for COVID-19 is lower.
"The facts in Algoma and Chippewa County, right across the river here, are certainly a lot different and I would expect them to be a lot different," Shoemaker said. "That's because of the population size then say, Windsor-Detroit or Buffalo and Niagara Falls, where we know cases are much higher."
Shoemaker said he's hoping fellow councillors will agree to call on the government to consider a regional approach.
However, it's so far not resonating.
"If you compare Michigan to Ontario over the course of the last 24 hours, for example, they've had twice as many cases as Ontario has," said Coun. Corey Gardi. "I don't want to be a gateway for people coming into our country and specifically, here."
Gardi said he agrees with Shoemaker, that the Sault's economy benefits greatly from border travel.
"But right now, the right move is to limit travel until we know we can get a handle of this virus," Gardi said.
He said despite COVID-19 cases being lower in Chippewa County, he has doubts whether he can trust American travel will be strictly from citizens with lower risk.
"So if you live in the south of the United States and you wanted to get out of the United States for a while, why could you not just come up here and cross our border?" asked Gardi.
City council will vote on a motion asking the federal government to extend its border shutdown on Monday, July 13.
That motion is widely expected to pass.