The Canadian government says it’s “strongly opposed” to the idea of sending American troops to the border to intercept illegal migrants as part of that country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Canada is strongly opposed to this U.S. proposal and we’ve made that opposition very, very clear to our American counterparts,” said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland today.
“At the end of the day, every country takes it own decisions but ours is an important and valued partnership and we are making clear Canada’s position.”
As first reported by Global News, White House officials are actively discussing putting soldiers near the Canadian border because of border security concerns related to COVID-19 — raising diplomatic tensions on both sides of the border.
A source with knowledge of those discussions told CBC News the White House is looking at placing 1,000 troops about 25 kilometres from the border and using remote sensors to look out for irregular border-crossers.
The source stressed that the U.S. hasn’t made a final decision.
When asked about the story during a morning news conference, Trudeau said the Canadian government has “been in discussions” with the United States on the issue.
“Canada and the U.S. have the longest unmilitarized border in the world. It is very much in both of our of interests for it to remain that way,” Trudeau told reporters.
“It’s benefited our two countries, our two economies, tremendously. We feel that it needs to remain that way.”
The two countries have a mutual ban in place on non-essential travel across the border, which includes trips for recreational purposes.
When that ban was announced, both sides stressed the importance of continuing to allow trade, commerce and cross-border essential workers to move back and forth over the border.