In the house of commons last week Prime Minister Trudeau revealed new restrictions for Canadians returning home from international travel. Beginning on February 3rd, all returning international flights will be funneled through Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Returning Canadians will be required to make reservations at a Government approved hotel for three nights, with travelers being responsible for the cost. While in isolation the returning travelers will be required to take a COVD-19 test. The restrictions were introduced in an effort to prevent further spread of the two COVID-19 variants that emerged in Europe and South Africa over the past few months.
“As new variants emerge, now more than ever, Canadians should be staying home. For their health and that of their loved ones, Canadians should only be considering travel if it is absolutely essential. With school breaks around the corner, I take this opportunity to remind Canadians that under no circumstance should anyone be planning travel for leisure," Marc Garneau Minister of Foreign Affairs said.
Local Member of Parliament Jeremy Patzer came out strongly against the new measures. Mr. Patrzer penned an open letter to the Prime Minister where he questioned the effectiveness of such restrictions, and called the new measures 'draconian.'
"Respectfully sir, I believe your government is overstepping its bound and setting a dangerous precedent. No Canadian should ever be prevented from entering their own home. That type of control is not indicative of a free and open democratic society," Mr. Patzer added. "I strongly advise against mandating hotel quarantines for returning Canadians."
Mr. Patzer goes on to request evidence that quarantining in a hotel is more effective than doing so in a private home.
"Evidence strong enough to rationalize such draconian measures."
Mr. Patzer posted his letter to social media over the weekend and comments immediately appeared supporting both sides of the argument.
"In all of my 60 some years of my life I was told there will be consequences to every high risk action you take. So anyone that took the risk to travel abroad after being told not to, should have factored in there holiday plans to be prepared to suffer the consequences. Its unfortunate but all were forewarned. Enjoy your holidays while you can. I really hope no one gets COVID from there travels. It would be heart breaking to find out someone we know got the deadly virus and brings it home to there loved ones and fellow Canadians. It's a consequence and needs to be handled the safest way possible. Anyway stay safe and take care," wrote one commenter.
"Thank you! These draconian measures are truly ridiculous and unsubstantiated and create a very dangerous precedent," another comment reads.
"Thank you! Well said. Please encourage all other MPs to speak out as well. Rights are being trampled. I have no problem doing whatever it takes to quarantine in my own home, but detained to prove I’m not sick?"
Along with the hotel isolation and testing, Canadian airlines have agreed to suspend flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries until April 30, 2021.