Toronto's Pearson Airport
It started with news of the
identification of a new coronavirus mutation in Great Britain. Within days,
four different provinces reported finding the latest COVID variant in their
jurisdictions. It is irrefutable evidence of how poorly controlled our borders
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair was on television on December 30, claiming that Canada had the most stringent border regulations in the world. If you are going to lie, go big!
We already have a poor record of allowing bigwigs entry on essential business when they are not critical to keeping our society running.
Attempting to impose Canadians COVID regulations beyond our borders is clear evidence that our government officials have slipped a couple of cogs and gone off the deep end.
International travellers don’t have access to quick COVID tests. Minister Blair cannot tell if tests applied out of the country are authentic, correctly administered, or reliable. Forgers are already busy preparing fake COVID-19 test certificates to meet demands.
International travellers need to be quarantined on arrival at the point of entry. Our hoteliers need the business. They can provide rooms and meals for people under quarantine, and travellers are easily monitored when kept in the same building.
Why air travel? People arriving by land or sea can also bring the COVID-19 virus with them. If they are not authentic, registered essential workers, they must quarantine at the entry point.
Allowing travellers to quarantine at their final destination is irresponsible. We may want to quarantine at home in familiar surroundings, but we can infect dozens between the point of entry and our final destination.
Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips should have been quarantined for 14 days on arrival at Toronto Pearson Airport, not allowed to go home until it was clear that he was virus free. He chose to disobey advice not to travel out of the country, and that decision has a price.
Those pleading for quick test kits at airports are ignoring the unreliability and scarcity of the test kits. The kits approved are needed in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities and workplaces where distancing is not possible. Travellers who put themselves at risk can wait their turn like everyone else or pay for testing. Having funds to buy an airline ticket does not make them immune from virus regulations.
Much of the current COVID spread is through essential workers doing their jobs. Most are on hourly wages with few benefits, such as paid sick leave. They go to work even if not feeling well as they cannot afford the income loss and pay for rent and groceries. The virus is embedded in that cohort, and the only solution is to prioritize the immunization of essential workers.
It is increasingly evident that the COVID-19 decision-makers are detached from the reality that we live with. They do not represent us. If they cannot or will not represent the people who elected them, they must be replaced. There is no excuse for failing to represent the people in a democracy.
Quebec has 22.6% of our population, 34.9% of COVID cases and 52.7% of COVID deaths. Why have we not banned all travel in and out of Quebec? Quebec airports should be closed to all traffic. The province is THE coronavirus hot spot in Canada.
The failure smells like fish kept too long.
John Feldsted … is a political commentator, consultant, and strategist. He makes his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.