This entry is part of Follow Washington, a regular dispatch from CBC News reporters covering US politics and developments that affect Canadians.
A leading US Republican weighed in on the debate surrounding ArriveCAN, the travel app the Canadian government introduced for cross-border travel during the pandemic.
She wants it gone.
Elise Stefanik, a member of the US House of Representatives Republican leadership team, a border area representative from New York State, and a hard-line ally of Donald Trump, has written to the Canadian government.
She wrote to the Canadian ambassador in Washington this week with the request: Stop requiring people to use ArriveCAN if they want to enter Canada.
Stefanik calls the app a glitchy obstacle to traveling with no public health purposes anymore. All it does now, she said, is confuse people and make them less likely to cross the border.
In her letter to Kirsten Hillman, she said that application confusion worsens waiting times at the border and causes people to choose to stay home at a time when countries should encourage partnerships. cross the border.
Stefanik added in a statement: “This requirement invalidates travel, hurts trade flows, and burdens travelers with submitting personal health information.”
What is the context?
The ArriveCAN debate has been going on in Canada for a while. It so happened that in this case, the 3rd Republican in the US House of Representatives, known for her staunch defense of Trump during his impeachment trial and in his bid to overturn the election. The recent US election, has reversed the current.
The mayors of Canadian border towns are begging Ottawa to remove the app, as are businesses and a US Democrat in the border area, Brian Higgins.
The Canadian government has acknowledged that the app occasionally crashes, leading to mistakes made by tourists. Some people entering Canada said they received outdated instructions urging them to quarantine.
The Buffalo News also called on Canada to reconsider. “It doesn’t work,” the paper said in an editorial this week. “And it hurts both economies.”
The newspaper from upstate New York called ArriveCAN a good idea and relatively simple to use, but said it had underperformed, especially as businesses depended on tourism around Niagara Falls. are still being hit by a drop in foreign travel and desperate cross-border travel. guest.
The Trudeau government has given no indication that it intends to remove the app. Federal officials say the app actually saves time by automating questions about vaccination status, rather than having travelers answer them verbally.
Ottawa says it has fixed the issue affecting some iPhone users.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has suggested that ArriveCAN could be used in the future as a way of automating customs pre-checks, something Australia has already done.