Report: Canadians Fed Up With American Border Crossers Taking COVID-19 Lightly
Canadians have become fed up with American border crossers not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously, The New York Times’ Karen Schwartz confirmed this week.
- Schwartz, who has dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship, described in a Friday story how Canadians are now reporting Americans they see or suspect of sneaking into the country to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
- Prior to leaving for a recent trip to Alberta to visit her elderly father, Schwartz said a friend warned that “the Canadians are actually doing damage to vehicles with United States plates on them.”
- Schwartz wrote that her “friend’s warning proved prescient.”
Some concerned residents who fear that the virus will be spread to their communities have been taking matters into their own hands, spurring so many reports of intimidation that the premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, reminded angry Canadians to “Be Calm. Be Kind” at a July 27 news conference.
Addressing those Americans who are in Canada legally, he said: “With respect to those who have offshore plates and are feeling harassed, I would suggest perhaps public transit. I would suggest that they get their plates changed. I would suggest that they ride a bike.”
- Schwartz noted the fate of an unidentified man from Alaska who has been ticketed twice and whose troubles were “precipitated by concerned citizens, not authorities.”
The Alaska plates on his truck were spotted June 25 during one of the regular parking lot sweeps that the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff conducts. Video footage was reviewed to confirm the driver’s identity, and he was questioned in his room. When he was unable to show that he had complied with quarantine laws, the police were called, said Trevor Long, the Rimrock’s general manager.
The Alaskan, however, proved a “challenging fellow” who thought “this whole pandemic was a farce,” according to Mr. Long. He was issued an $870 ticket under the Alberta Public Health Act and instructed to leave town the following day.
Instead, the couple showed up for their massages the next morning.
- Long told Schwartz: “He was a little bit irritated that we said, ‘No, you’re not allowed to have your spa appointment.’”
- According to the report, the couple “then drove to the Banff Gondola, a popular tourist destination, where the Alaska license again prompted someone to call the R.C.M.P.”
- The Alaska man was once again intercepted and “was charged with violating the federal Quarantine Act and faces up to six months in prison and an additional fine of up to $560,000 if convicted.”
- One woman made no attempt to hide her feelings about Americans crossing the border:
“It makes me angry and it frightens me because Canada is obviously doing its level best, mostly successfully, to keep our country as safe as possible and our numbers low,” said Tamara B., of Calgary, who asked that her last name not be used. “You’d have to be living in a cave for the last six months to not know what the situation is down there” in the United States.