Canada has turned down a proposal by the United States to put troops at the US.-Canada border during the coronavirus outbreak, arguing that such a move would be unnecessary given the low amount of illegal crossings and it would damage relations between the longtime allies.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday his government has been in discussions with the White House about convincing the U.S. not to do it.
Canada and the United States have a un-militarized border in the world’s longest and very much in both of our interests for it to stay that way, “said Trudeau.
Department of Homeland Security did make an official request to the Pentagon for military forces to provide additional security along the northern border, between the point of entry, according to a US official.
The official said the request was made several days ago and the Department of Defense has done some initial planning but no final decision about whether or not to approve the request.
Other administration officials Trump said it is considering additional measures to ensure the “personnel at the border we have the resources and operational support needed to overcome the profound public health threat of cross-border movement of uncontrolled during a pandemic.”
Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland said they had told the government Trump is no justification for the troops.
“What we’re saying is, ‘We really do not believe at all that there will be no public health justification for you to take this action,'” said Freeland. “And we said, ‘We really do not think is the right way to treat a trusted friend and ally of the military.'”
He stressed that they are talking about a potential decision by the United States and said they first learned of the proposal a few days ago. Trudeau’s office has been in direct contact with the White House and Canadian defense and public security ministers have spoken with their colleagues.
“Our understanding is that the decision has not yet been acted upon or fully drawn. But having said that, the decision was taken quickly by all governments around the world, including us,” said Freeland. “Canada strongly opposed the US proposal.”
Canada has more than 3,900 cases and 38 deaths per Thursday afternoon. The United States has more than 82,400 cases – higher than in China where the outbreak began – and 1,178 deaths.
Canada relies on the U.S. for 75 percent of its exports. About 18 percent of Canada’s exports go to the U.S. The two countries have already closed the border both ways to all non-essential travel.
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