The Quebec government installed checkpoints Wednesday to turn back nonessential travelers from some provincial crossings — including the bridges leading directly from downtown Ottawa.
OTTAWA – Coronavirus fears have driven jurisdictions worldwide to tighten the border – and rigid restrictions in Canada are now drawing a line of do-not-cross through the heart of the G-7 capital.
Quebec government mounted police checkpoint Wednesday to back tourists who no importance of some crossing the province – including the bridge that leads directly from downtown Ottawa.
The federal government buildings are located on both sides of the river, so the landscape is very important for commuters civil servants.
In view of the highly unusual for the Canadian capital, the officer looks Wednesday to make unannounced rider on the landscape.
Ottawa is located in the province of Ontario, but a large piece of a larger area which is shared with the smaller city of Gatineau in the province of Quebec. In this section, the Ontario-Quebec boundary follows the Ottawa River, which cuts through the area and thundered past Parliament Hill.
Straddling the provincial border for a global public health crisis that has put the city of Ottawa in an awkward position.
“At the end of the day … the Quebec government can do what it wants on their side of the border,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson reporters Wednesday on a conference call. “We do not believe, on this site, that it is necessary. We definitely will not support the city resources to put police on the bridge 24 hours a day five. I do not think it would make sense and it will take the police from doing important work during this pandemic. ”
Watson said there was “a challenge jurisdiction” with checkpoints because the federal government regulates interprovincial travel and trade.
Mathieu Lacombe, a Quebec cabinet minister who is also responsible for the region, wrote on Twitter that the government makes a call based on the recommendation of public health experts. “It is difficult, but necessary decisions. We’ll be there, do not give up! ” write Lacombe, who is also minister of Quebec families.
Quebec has been reported so far, most cases COVID-19 in Canada, even more than Ontario despite a smaller population. As a result, Quebec Premier François Legault has often moved faster than his colleagues in implementing stringent response measures.
In a statement Wednesday, the government said Quebec provincial police will work with local enforcement to introduce measures to “limit move” randomly. Stricter rules will not affect the way to work, health care, humanitarian aid or service is important, the government said. “By limiting entry and exit, public health authorities believe they can further restrict and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the statement said.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland asked about Quebec’s decision to install checkpoints and whether it is time for the federal government to begin restricting domestic travel.
“Quebec has taken some strong measures,” said Freeland reporters in Ottawa. “The province of Quebec has our support and admiration to show real leadership.”
Freeland added that the government can help by introducing tough measures to encourage social distance, but that at the end of the day individuals can make a difference.
“As to whether further measures are being considered – of course, they are,” he said. “Everything is on the table.”
Gatineau is home to a large slice of the population in this region, with 2016 figures showing it represents about 23 percent of the area of Ottawa-Gatineau. The combined population of Ottawa and Gatineau was 1,210,488 in 2016, according to Statistics Canada.
In normal times, the bridge to and from Ottawa jammed during peak hours. With so many workers stayed at home because of coronavirus, a bridge has been quiet in recent weeks.
Watson said he and Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin has been advising local residents to avoid non-essential travel in the cities along the bridge.
He added he did not expect the intersection of the province to tighten further, at least not on the Ontario side. The government of Ontario told him he has no plans to take the same approach as Quebec, he said.
“As I said, they have the ability to do what they want on their side the border and I do not think it’s necessary, but this is what they decided to do.”
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