Governor Greg Gianforte, the governors of Idaho and North Dakota, and the premiers of two Canadian provinces today called on U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately open the border between the two countries.
On Wednesday, July 21, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it was extending its temporary restriction prohibiting non-essential cross-border travel from Canada through at least August 21.
In response, Gov. Gianforte, the governors of Idaho and North Dakota, and the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan today urged Biden and Trudeau to work together to reach an agreement allowing for the immediate movement of citizens, goods, and tourists between the two nations.
“Our relationship is one built on mutual respect and friendship. As we continue to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and work together on joint initiatives to provide vaccinations to more and more of our citizens every day, the time has come to allow our citizens to move safely and securely across our shared border,” the leaders wrote in a letter to Biden and Trudeau.
Gov. Gianforte and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney have worked together to combat the pandemic. In addition to encouraging Montanans to get the free, safe, and effective COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Gianforte announced on May 7 that Montana and Alberta signed a Memorandum of Understanding whereby Montana would provide vaccines to Albertan commercial truck drivers and their families at a rest stop near Conrad, Montana. On May 20, the governor visited the vaccine clinic off I-15. Over the course of four weeks, Montana administered 1,235 vaccine doses at the clinic.
The U.S. governors and Canadian premiers concluded their letter to Biden and Trudeau, writing, “Our two nations, and the states and provinces along our shared border, have a long history of secure, safe and free flow of goods and services across the border, as well as citizens traveling between our countries for business, shopping and tourism. We request our federal governments return to this symbol of friendship once again by securely opening the northern border.”
Governor Gianforte signed the joint letter with Idaho Governor Brad Little, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.