Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said that it is in the US and Canada’s interests to keep the border unmilitarised after the United States floated the idea of placing troops on the Canada-US border.
Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland were responding to a Global News report that said White House officials are discussing such a military deployment to the recently closed border, the world’s longest at 8,900 kilometers (5,500 miles).
During a press briefing, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the country is strongly opposed to the US idea of sending troops to the border to intercept illegal migrants as part of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic it was temporarily shut as of Saturday to all non-essential travelers on both sides, but not cross-border trade.
“Canada and the United States have the longest unmilitarized border in the world. And it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way,” Trudeau told a daily briefing.
Canada and the United States implemented a mutual ban on non-essential travel across the border last week, which includes trips for recreational purposes.
But two sides continued allowing trade, commerce and cross-border essential workers to move back and forth over the border.
Under the proposal, the US military would advise American border agents, who would be sent to intercept them.
According to the latest government data, US officials apprehended 4,400 migrants at the Canada-US border in the 12 months to September 30, 2019, compared to 15,700 who crossed irregularly into Canada from the United States during the period.
The number of coronavirus cases in Canada on Thursday surpassed 4,000 including 39 deaths, according to public health authorities. The number of US cases, meanwhile, topped 83,000, including more than 1,200 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
On Monday, Trudeau said that his government has not ruled out any enforcement options and he will have a conference call with the premiers and territorial leaders to discuss continued coordination on quarantine and self-isolation, including providing health equipment.
Earlier on Sunday, the Canadian leader had announced that the House of Commons will resume to pass legislation for the financial aid of C$82 billion and other plans.