Loosened Canada-US Border rules and police bodycameras addressed by Trudeau

During his daily national address today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the need for provincial police officers to use body-cameras and provided an update regarding the U.S. border restrictions. 

Here is a breakdown of what was announced and discussed.

Prime Minister promises to push for Police body-cameras for more transparency

With the RCMP recently facing new allegations of racism and police brutality this past weekend and losing public trust, there are many advocates for the adoption of body cameras. 

Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane told reporters that the adoption of bodycams as part of the police uniform could help the RCMP regain public trust.

“It’ll not only ensure that the public is being treated properly, it will regain that social acceptance of the RCMP. People are afraid of them right now,” said the Northwest Territories Premier. 

Prime Minister Trudeau says that he is planning to push provincial premiers to have the police equipped with body-cameras when on duty to identify the truth behind the allegations of racism and brutality from officers.

With cameras equipped, interactions between police officers and the public can be documented, and Prime Minister Trudeau says that doing so will help address the complaints of racial inequality from the police.

He says that the country’s history of racial injustice is not something that can be fixed and addressed right away, but it has shown him that more action needs to be done.

“The challenges that I’ve heard are more logistical and economic concerns about remote areas, and the way those cameras would work,” Trudeau said.

“It is something that is, in my opinion, what we need to move forward with.” Prime minister Trudeau said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the issue was raised with the RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki during a call today and will be discussed with the provincial premiers at a later date this week.

Trudeau also points out a statistic related to the Black communities in cities like Toronto and Montreal and how their communities are hit the hardest by the COVID-19 virus.

He says that the poverty and inequality are underlying factors that need to be addressed and that includes reviewing spending decisions on the RCMP.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has responded to this by saying that removal of the RCMP’s funding because of the allegations regarding racism and brutality would not increase the safety of Canadians.

“I believe we have to look at aspects within our police forces and stamp out systemic racism where it exists and put in measures to ensure nobody is mistreated or treated differently because of the colour of their skin or their ethnic background”.

U.S. border restrictions to be eased allowing for families to reunite

Prime minister Trudeau also announced that immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada in the U.S. separated by temporary COVID-19 travel restrictions can now enter Canada effective as of midnight, under a new limited exemption.

FILE PHOTO: The U.S.-Canada border crossing is seen amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada April 17, 2020. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Those eligible must be immediate family members, such as spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, parents, and legal guardians.

To enter the country, family members will need to have a plan to stay in Canada for a minimum of 15 days and have to enter a self-quarantine period of 14 days as soon as they enter the country.

“The purpose of this measure is not to allow people to come and go into Canada whenever they like, but rather to help Canadian families reunite during this unprecedented time,” said Marco Mendicino, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

“To be clear, the immediate family exemption does not mean the border will now be open to weekend travellers, or those seeking just to attend a personal or social gathering. For people travelling from abroad, they must still have a valid visa or Electronic Travel Authorization”.

When making the announcement, Trudeau emphasized the fact that a possible second wave of COVID-19 may occur with letting people into the country from abroad, and that there would be serious penalties for those who ignore the social distancing rules put in place.

“All this is difficult and frustrating, and longer than we hoped it would be in many ways, but at the same time we know that the cost of having to return into social isolation, return into lockdown because of a massive resurgence is not one that anyone wants to bear, which is why we are being very cautious moving forward,” Trudeau said.

Minister of immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Marco Mendicino vowed that Canada will be closely monitoring the impacts of the first move in three months to slightly loosen the border restriction rules. 

Mendicino also emphasized that the decision that allowed for this exemption was made in collaboration with public health experts as well as the provinces and territories. 

“COVID-19 remains a concern and we must continue to take measures at the border that are necessary from spreading it, and the measures today represent an incremental, a responsible and a thoughtful response towards that objective,” Mendicino said.

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