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B.C. premier wants to know if he can legally keep other Canadians from visiting

Last Updated Jan 14, 2021 at 6:33 pm PST

Summary

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he's hearing loud and clear that people are concerned about travel within Canada

Preventing travel to B.C. is not as simple as closing borders, like the Maritimes, says Horgan

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – B.C.’s premier says he’s looking at what can be done to prevent Canadian visitors from other provinces from coming here. This comes as COVID-19 continues to spread, and after communities across B.C. saw visitors from across the province and country over the holidays.

Premier John Horgan says he’s hearing loud and clear that people are concerned about this travel and want it stopped.

“We have been trying our best to find a way to meet that objective of the public in a way that’s consistent with the Charter and other fundamental rights here in Canada, so legal advice is what we sought,” he said.

Horgan says although international travel has been mostly dealt with, there are still challenges “when it comes to mobility within Canada.”

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He says he wants to settle once and for all whether the province is able to limit other Canadians from travelling to B.C. He adds other premiers and territorial leaders are on the same page, wanting to keep people in their home provinces, for now.

Horgan said he wants to be able to definitively give British Columbians one of two messages: “We cannot do that and we’re not going to do that” or “There is a way to do it and we’re going to work with other provinces to achieve it.”

But, he notes, it’s not as simple as closing borders, like in the Maritimes.

“The Maritimes’ population is not as large as that of British Columbia, so there’s only a few ways in and out and it’s easier to manage than it would be here in B.C.,” Horgan explained.

In November, Horgan had said he wanted a unified message for people to avoid all non-essential travel during the pandemic. He had urged all against all travel in B.C. that isn’t necessary and wanted everyone across the country to receive the same messaging.

“We need a pan-Canadian approach to travel. We need to make sure that people in Coquitlam are living with the same rules as people in Chicoutimi. We need to make sure that those who want to come to British Columbia must only do so if it is essential for their business or their well-being,” he said in November.

With files from Kathryn Tindale and Lasia Kretzel