By: Michael Locatelli, For The Clock
The COVID-19 Pandemic has crippled the world in unthinkable ways. It’s the first time in my lifetime, where I feel as though the entire world is fighting a common enemy. It is almost as if we are at war. People are dying, while front line workers risk their health and safety everyday to save people and develop treatments for this Coronavirus. Countries across the world have all responded differently to the pandemic. Nations such as Canada, and many in Europe went into total lockdown when the pandemic hit. Some countries, like Slovakia, are still fining people for sitting outside in public spaces more than a year after the breakout. However, nations like the United States have a taken a far more moderate approach. Many states like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee remained completely open with little to no COVID regulations to speak of. So, whose, correct? Who’s handling the virus properly? And what do we do moving forward?
I do not have an answer to any of these questions, I am not a scientist, or a medical professional. I am merely a Canadian college student studying English at Plymouth State University. Yet, strict Canadian COVID regulations have played a major role in my life and that of my Canadian peers at PSU. Since the pandemic hit, I have travelled back to Canada twice. Once for summer break, and once for the holiday break last November. Each time, I had to spend fourteen days in quarantine before being able to hug my parents. Even with a negative COVID-19 test taken on the day I crossed the border, I still had to spend a month of my year in isolation. But I can understand that as you never know if you picked it up somewhere along the 10-hour drive from the testing center in New Hampshire to my family home in Toronto. However, the Canadian government didn’t stop there. Updated on April 8th, 2021, the Canadian Government website reads “At this time, you are not excluded from quarantine, even if you have: been vaccinated for COVID-19, Tested negative for COVID-19, or recovered from COVID-19.” It goes on to state, “Flying into Canada – your quarantine period includes a mandatory three-night pre-paid booking at a government-authorized hotel at your own cost.” By the way, that three-night stay costs over $1000. So, what does this mean for me and my Canadian peers who reside in the United States? Well, if we want to travel back into our OWN country, that we are CITIZENS of, it’s going to cost our families $1000. Many of my Canadian friends who attend PSU do not have cars, nor do they live in places that are a mere ten-hour drive away like I do. They don’t have another option to get home other than air travel and their own government is keeping them out unless they fork over a minimum of $1000.
This maneuver by Justin Trudeau’s government was meant to deter people from travelling, particularly into the United States in order to stop the spread. Section 6, article (1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that “Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.” Yet our Prime Minister Mr. Trudeau, the person who is supposed to protect our freedom, essentially said, who cares!
I understand COVID-19 is a major problem, and I care deeply about public safety, but entry fees for Canadian citizens to get back into their own country is not the answer. It’s unconstitutional, and it goes against everything that Canadian values are supposed to stand up against. Totalitarian decision making, and a disregard for the Canadian constitution. Forcing citizens to spend $1000 to access their home is a tax on freedom, and it does not make anybody any safer.