Opposition motion to remove travel restrictions denied in House

The Conservative Party’s attempt to reverse the Liberal government’s stronghold on travel restrictions for Canadians has been denied.

On Monday afternoon, the CPC’s motion “Rules and service levels for travel” was defeated 202 to 117.

The motion was sponsored by the Conservative Party’s Melissa Lantsman, who cited that citizens are currently “experiencing unacceptable wait times at Canadian airports” and that “current restrictions have been cited by experts as ineffective and contributing to additional delays, costs, and confusion.”

Lantsman lobbied that Canada’s international allies have already moved to lift all COVID-19 restrictions at airports and other points of entry, claiming that Canada is “losing business and economic opportunities. The House called on the Liberal government to “immediately revert to pre-pandemic rules and service levels for travel.”

Before the 3 pm vote, the Conservative Party said the current travel mandates are “outdated, unscientific, and only hurt Canadians and businesses.” The party asked the NDP-Liberal coalition to “follow the science, get in line with our allies, and end the extreme delays.”

Last week, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) apologized for maddening wait times across the country, citing staff shortages as a major reason. Travellers have since expressed frustration with Canadian airport’s random COVID-19 testing, increased questioning from border agents, and confusion from the country’s mandatory ArriveCAN app due to federal pandemic-related travel requirements.

Mere minutes after the motion was defeated, Lantsman tweeted that the Liberal government “still has not shared any justification for their outdated and out-of-step restrictions.”

Last week, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam was asked about passengers contacting COVID-19 on flights. She said there have been “very few reports” and “extremely rare” cases of transmission aboard aircraft in Canada. Tam says officials are learning “more and more” about technology and ventilation on modern aircraft and that ventilation aboard planes is “actually really good.”

Canada is currently the only country in the world still banning domestic travel for unvaccinated citizens. Various countries around the world, including New Zealand and Australia — two countries with the strictest COVID-19 requirements at the height of the pandemic — now allow their unvaccinated citizens to fly internationally.

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