‘Unnecessary & damaging’: Canada strongly opposes U.S. deployment of troops near border

Downtown Calgary was mostly empty on Tuesday. Gavin Young  Postmedia

Downtown Calgary was mostly empty on Tuesday. Gavin Young Postmedia

The federal Liberal government used some of the sternest language diplomacy allows Thursday as it condemned a White House proposal to send soldiers to the Canada-U.S. border, ostensibly to keep illegal migrants from spreading COVID-19.

A senior Canadian official with knowledge of the plan said it would have stationed 1,000 troops about 30 kilometres from the border with ground-based sensor technology to track unauthorized crossings.

She said she had first heard about plans to deploy troops 'a couple of days ago, ' and said Canada had made its position clear to various members of the US administration.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the news while giving his daily briefing to reporters from Rideau Cottage, acknowledging that conversations are taking place. Last week, the two nations agreed to close the border to non-essential travel to ease the outbreak's strain on health systems.

The Bank of Canada has made two emergency cuts to its key lending rate to help insulate the economy as business activity slows. "We recognize that they are a significant challenge for many Canadians at this point", Trudeau said Thursday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the government was trying to balance the need to act quickly to help Canadians with the need to remain accountable to Parliament.

An estimated 400,000 people and $2 billion worth of goods normally cross the border each day.

The decision to have the prime minister speaking regularly is a deliberate one to use the megaphone Trudeau has to shout public health information at Canadians and he is unlikely to put that megaphone down anytime soon.

Ms. Freeland said Canadian officials learned of the proposal a few days ago.

Canada reached a deal with the U.S.in 2019 that lifted Trump's punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, an agreement that included a Canadian commitment to take steps to prevent foreign steel and aluminum from being dumped in Canada and sold stateside.

On Thursday, reporters asked Trudeau how he would stop the USA from reopening the border before health officials say it is safe to do so.

"We're hearing some people being denied deferrals, since it's on a case-by-case basis", Shmuel said.

Bruce Heyman, a former USA ambassador to Canada, said it would be a serious misuse of resources and a unsafe and inappropriate use of American troops. "But in Canada, we have, we do have troops along the border".

"Today, we are announcing Kirsten Hillman as our country's next Ambassador to the United States".

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