July 15, 2021
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s insistence on maintaining travel restrictions along the U.S.-Canada border, in the face of pressure from business leaders and U.S. lawmakers, has broad support among Canadians, according to new surveys.
“As we have been every step of the way, we are going to be cautious and responsible and take things step-by-step,” Trudeau told reporters Wednesday afternoon during an appearance at a wind turbine factory in Gaspe, Quebec.
The border rules are set to expire on July 21. Trudeau is expected to call an election this summer in the hopes of regaining a majority in the nation’s legislature. Easing travel restrictions too soon could prove unpopular among his voter base and would risk returning his party to another minority.
New polling data, in fact, suggests that Canadians broadly support their leader’s caution. In a survey published Thursday by the Angus Reid Institute, 69% of respondents said they want the travel ban to remain in place until 75% of Canadians are fully vaccinated. About half said the prime minister was doing a good job handling the pandemic, his highest rating since January.
Similarly, a recent Nanos Research Group survey conducted for Bloomberg News found that 54% of Canadians were at least somewhat uncomfortable with allowing non-essential U.S. travelers into the country. Some 70% of respondents said the same about non-U.S. travelers.
The surge of Covid-19 cases linked to the delta variant is a reminder that despite rising vaccination rates, the coronavirus is still dangerous, Trudeau said at the news conference. “I think it’s important to understand — particularly as we look around the world what’s happening with the delta variant in far too many places — that as much as it feels great that we’re coming through this pandemic, we are not through this pandemic yet,” he said.
So far, roughly 69% of Canadians have received at least one dose and 46% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In the U.S., about 56% have received at least one dose and 48% are fully vaccinated, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
Businesses are pushing for Trudeau to allow fully vaccinated U.S. travelers into Canada in an effort to avoid a second lost summer tourist season. Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and residents have been exempt from quarantine since July 5, the first easing of restrictions since they were put in place in March 2020.