Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Vermont Governor Phil Scott adds his voice to the chorus of calls to eliminate the ArriveCAN application, that mandatory screening tool for everyone entering Canada.
Governor Scott, who was visiting Montreal at the invitation of the Council on International Relations of Montreal (CORIM), did not hide his irritation at the move during a meeting with the media.
“I think it’s impacted tourism in Vermont, there’s no denying that. We see far fewer Canadians, and particularly those from Quebec, coming to our state.
“We believe it’s due to ArriveCAN,” he added.
The Canadian American Business Council (CABC) launched a campaign in August to pressure Ottawa to shut down the ArriveCAN app altogether. This campaign led to the sending of around 1,500 emails from elected officials and American businesspeople to federal lawmakers and Secretary of Public Safety Marco Mendicino demanding that ArriveCAN be abolished.
A polite request from Vermont
Governor Scott was not among them, however, and on a number of occasions raised the issue very politely, saying, “Who am I to tell the Canadian government what needs to be done to protect their border?” We have all had to take actions that we felt were essential during the pandemic.”
“But I wouldn’t mind seeing ArriveCan go away at all because I think it puts a lot of Quebec people off from visiting Vermont because of the burden it imposes and the time it takes.”
He conceded that the app, which he himself had to use to immigrate, wasn’t that difficult to use, “but at the same time you have to plan everything 72 hours in advance so there’s no spontaneity at immigration . It has to be planned,” he said.
There is no doubt that cross-border tourism remains starved compared to pre-pandemic times. For example, data from the Canada Border Services Agency shows that 321,131 Canadians crossed the Canada-US border into Quebec by land during the two-week construction holiday in 2019, compared to just 215,082 that year. These numbers include crossings to the four border states with Quebec, namely New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. While these numbers don’t isolate Vermont or pleasure travel, they are a good indicator of the declining volume that has plagued Gov. Scott’s state.
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