Canada Tells US Not To Put Troops At Border During Pandemic

Associated Press
March 26, 2020 - 1:30 pm

By ROB GILLIES Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) — Canada has told the U.S. it is strongly opposed to a Trump administration proposal to put troops at the U.S.-Canada border amid the pandemic and said if it goes ahead it would damage relations between the two longtime allies.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government has been in discussions with the White House about convincing the U.S. not to put troops on the the border.

"Canada and the United States have the longest un-militarized border in the world and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way," Trudeau said. “It is something that has benefited our two countries and our both economies tremendously and we feel it needs to stay that way”

Few people cross into the border into the U.S. from Canada illegally. And COVID-19 cases are surging more in the U.S. than in Canada.

Deputy Chrystia Freeland said the specifics of what the U.S. is proposing is a question for American officials to answer and declined to say what the Trump administration is contemplating.

Freeland said they are “very directly and very forcefully” expressing the view that “this is an entirely unnecessary step” that Canada would "view as damaging to the relationship.”

“Canada is strongly opposed to this U.S. proposal and we have made that opposition very, very clear to our American counterparts and we will continue to do so,” Freeland said.

Canada has 3,409 cases, 35 deaths and has tested over 158,000 people.

Canada relies on the U.S. for 75 percent of its exports. About 18 percent of Canada's exports go to the U.S. The two countries have already closed the border both ways to all non-essential travel.