Masse says border news is good news, but questions remain

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Windsor West MP Brian Masse says the announcement that the Canada-U.S. border is expected to reopen to fully vaccinated travellers in November is good news for the region.

The Biden administration is set to announced new rules on Wednesday that will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals entry to the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel.

Speaking on AM800's Morning Drive, Masse says it's especially good news for families that have been torn apart during the pandemic but he'd like to see a Safe Border Taskforce put together on the subject to answer outstanding questions.

"Without that working group we're just kind of going from moment to moment, but for a lot of Canadians and Americans there's been a real mental health issue and quite a struggle amongst family members that have been separated for a long period of time so I know there's a lot of anxiousness out there."

Masse says he can't count the number of conversations he's had with people since the beginning of the pandemic, some who've even broken down crying, asking to have something done about the border.

"Often it's about mix-blended families. There's been different rules depending upon who the guardians are, if there's a divorce, how long the relationship has been, and a whole series of different things taking place. What we forget sometimes is that the traditional nuclear family is not all we have in our general lives," Masse said.

He says many families have people that may not be considered part of the typical nuclear formula that are still very much connected to their everyday lives.

Masse says the bigger question in all of this is why the northern border between Canada and the United States is now being treated similarly to the southern border between the US and Mexico.

"And this is our failed diplomacy that we've had that we need to address with the United States because it's not just been about trade issues, it's also about the northern border being treated the same as the Mexican border which are totally different operations and have totally different realities. That's something that we've lost over the last number of years because we're tied right into this with Mexico so we're going to see what they respond with there as well," he said.

Masse says he expects that there will be some nervousness amongst the population, so transparency, accountability and being able to answer any outstanding questions will be key.

The White House confirmed Tuesday night that fully vaccinated visitors from Canada and Mexico will be welcomed at land border crossings next month, but they wouldn't specify what vaccines would be accepted or if mixed doses will meet eligibility tests.