Debate continues over opening Atlantic bubble to rest of Canada
FREDERICTON -- With the exception of those who have the time to self isolate for 14 days, Atlantic Canada remains effectively closed to the rest of the country.
While people in other parts of Canada want to come east, opinions are divided in Atlantic Canada over whether the Atlantic bubble should be expanded.
“At this point we don’t have any date in mind for reopening with the rest of Canada,” New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs told media on Wednesday.
There are lots of Maritimers who feel that’s the right call.
“As long as Quebec, Ontario and the west continue to have many cases, the Atlantic bubble should remain. We’ve done a great job here controlling this pandemic, if we ever hope to get back to anything that resembles normal, interprovincial travel should be discouraged,” wrote one Maritime resident on Twitter.
But some are angered by the bubble.
"Your bubble is a disgrace," wrote one social media user.
“There’s this undertone in some of what I’ve seen, particularly on social media, that we’re sort of sticking up for people who just want to go on vacation,” says Cara Zwibel, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association Fundamental Freedoms Program.
The CCLA has filed a claim against Newfoundland and Labrador, alleging its border restrictions violate Canadians’ rights to move freely throughout the country.
That case is being heard now. The association assures this is about much more than vacation.
“We do have a situation that leads us to intervene in this case with a co-applicant, a woman who was denied the opportunity to travel back home to Newfoundland where her mother had passed away,” explains Zwibel. “Those kind of real human consequences are significant.”
Zwibel says she understands provinces have since tried to address those issues. But the CCLA is asking how far should governments be allowed to go when limiting people’s rights?
As for whether bursting the bubble would actually help those at home, some feel it is too late in the summer to recoup the tourism industry.
“At this late point, would they suddenly jump in a car in Ontario, or Quebec, and drive to New Brunswick for a family vacation? Probably not,” says John Wishart, CEO of the Moncton Chamber of Commerce. “That’s why it’s even more important for us to encourage the staycation model, supporting local businesses.”
It's a difficult discussion that’s gone from one end of the country, to the courtroom.