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MP Mazier props up tourism, outfitters in cross border townhall

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Dan Mazier was recently part of a delegation meeting with United States Congressmen and Minnesota State Senators to discuss the Canada-US border.
The Dauphin Swan-River-Neepawa MP took part in a virtual townhall, which attracted over 500 participants.
Congressmen Pete Stauber and Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach invited Mazier to discuss the impacts of the Canada-US border closure and to seek potential solutions for the path ahead to be included in a briefing for U.S. President Joe Biden.
In his opening remarks, Mazier indicated many businesses in the constituency have been struggling to make ends meet. In particular tourism, outfitters and lodges rely on American cliental, Mazier said.
“Canada is not only home to world-class fishing and hunting opportunities, but also to some of the most dedicated lodge operators and outfitters,” he said.
“Outfitters and guides cannot afford to lose another black bear season, another duck hunting season or another fishing season.”
Colleen Liske, vice-president of the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association was pleased to hear that discussions are happening on the future of the border. Outfitters and lodges were the first to close, are among some of the hardest hit and will likely be the last to recover, she said.
“Business has been completely decimated since the border closed and without a plan, these businesses that are a staple to many rural communities, risk closing forever.” Liske said.
“We cannot afford continuous uncertainty. We need to develop a plan that considers the isolated areas we operate in and the customers who are already vaccinated.”
Mazier does not believe that there is a strong appetite from Canadians to reopen the border immediately, however, he does believe that there needs to be a plan.
“Although we will not return to normal overnight, I believe that there needs to be a co-ordinated plan between our countries, to safely and gradually reopen our border,” Mazier said, adding Canada and the United States have the largest trade and travel bilateral relationship in the world.
“Too many local businesses rely on America to ignore this situation.”
The local MP also underscored the importance of family reunification and travel for health care. Mazier noted that the key to reopening the border will depend on getting vaccines into arms, something Canada is falling significantly behind on compared to their American neighbours. Biden announced that by Apr. 19, every American who wants a vaccine will be eligible to receive one.
“I encourage America to consider asking President Biden to send Canada more vaccines so we can speed up the border reopening because Justin Trudeau is clearly not working fast enough,” Mazier said.
Some of the ideas that emerged from the discussion included an international travel corridor, an affidavit requirement for travelers, and direct transportation to hunting and fishing lodges in isolated locations.

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Staff Writer
REPORTER
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