“May these gates never be closed” are the words written on the iconic Peace Arch on the Canada-US border.
“This area is the only place on the entire Canada-U.S. border where there is an international peace park where people from both countries can go, share the same space, and be together,” said Dr. Laurie Trautman, director of the Border Policy Research Institute.
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Trautman runs an institute that studies the frontier at Western Washington University in Bellingham.
She recalls how in the early days of the pandemic, Peace Arch Park’s unique, open status became a haven for people separated by a closed border.
“They came here in great numbers, and a lot of those people were unmarried couples who couldn’t see each other because of the border restrictions,” Trautman told Global News on Sunday.
But that didn’t last long as concerns about COVID-19 led to the closure of the Canadian side of the park.
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Two years later, with most of Canada vaccinated and the border largely reopened, the Canadian side of the park is still closed.
It turns out that the Canadian side is run by the provincial Department of the Environment, which told Global News they plan to keep it closed indefinitely as they are unable to check vaccine status or ensure that visitors comply. to the border requirements.
Some find that baffling, given that entry to the park has nothing to do with actually crossing into Canada and the ministry is not concerned about the vaccination status of people visiting any of the other parks.
“It’s a mystery why park entry and park opening would have anything to do with Canadian entry requirements,” Trautman said.
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