doug ford today

Doug Ford calls out Canada's two-tiered border measures that don't apply to private jets

After weeks of asking for Prime Minister Trudeau for tighter restrictions at the Canadian border to help curb the spread of COVID-19 variants, Premier Doug Ford is pretty pissed about getting repeatedly ghosted by his federal counterpart.

During his press conference on Thursday — during which he announced the official extension of Ontario's stay-at-home order until at least June 2 — the provincial leader touched on the topic yet again, and called the feds out on what he deems a "two-tiered quarantine system" that has allowed the rich to flout the rules that the rest of us have to abide by.

"One thing threatens all the progress we've made. One thing threatens the summer everyone hopes to have. And that's the weak and porous border measures that the federal government has kept in place," Ford said.

"The reality is existing border measures have failed to keep contagious variants out of Canada... this brutal third wave is fueled almost entirely by variants that pass too easily through our borders."

Ford detailed the numerous letters asking for more stringent protections at entrypoints that he's sent to Trudeau in recent weeks, to which he has received no reply — something he's been vocal in complaining about, and perhaps rightfully so.

The premier also pointed out a sobering statistic: that 88,000 travellers entering Canada, which represents a third of those coming in on international flights, have managed to evade the mandatory hotel quarantine imposed in February for all passengers on planes from other countries.

He then expressed particular concern about private jets, the passengers of which have taken advantage of loopholes to skip mandatory protocols, landing covertly at smaller airports in cities where there are no quarantine hotels.

As residents will recall, Ottawa in February began limiting all incoming flights to four main airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary — something that privately owned aircrafts are apparently exempt from.

"This is not emergency travel," Ford said angrily. "They've created a two-tiered quarantine system. If you can afford a private jet, you get to skip the quarantine. There are two sets of rules right now... it's unacceptable."

Some health experts have similarly voiced frustration about the private jet issue, like the ones who spoke to the CBC earlier this week and said that, under the current rules, there indeed are hundreds of individuals "bypassing the system  by virtue of whatever means of travel they're taking."

In a random sampling of nine smaller Canadian airports in jurisdictions far from quarantine hotels, the news outlet found that nearly 1,000 flights had landed at these locations from Feb. 22 to April 26.

We'll have to wait and see if Trudeau has a response to Ford's incessant requests, which the PM will surely have to answer to at his next media briefing.

In the meantime, many feel that Ford's focus on the border issue is serving to take away from his own faults in mismanaging the pandemic.

Lead photo by

Jakob Rosen

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