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B.C. premier calls on prime minister to ask other provinces to restrict non-essential travel

NDP Leader John Horgan pauses for a moment as he addresses the media during an election campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C. Tuesday, September 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. Premier John Horgan is calling for a “pan-Canadian” approach to restricting non-essential travel across the country, but he is not asking for the federal government to ban inter-provincial travel.

Horgan is asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to push premiers to put in bans on vacation, recreational travel, and travel to visit loved ones.

“We need to make sure that people in Coquitlam are living under the same rules as people in Chicoutimi,” Horgan said.

“I am not requesting the federal government to impose anything on any other jurisdiction in Canada. I am asking the federal government to work with us and other provincial governments to get the message out that if you do not have to travel between jurisdictions you shouldn’t do so.”

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British Columbia does not have a ban in place for non-essential travel, but there is an expectation that provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will ban non-essential travel on Thursday when the province updates restrictions.

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Atlantic provinces have created a bubble with varying rules, including cases where non-Atlantic travellers must quarantine for 14 days.

Read more: Here’s what you’ll need to do to enter each province in the Atlantic bubble

Horgan said he hopes Trudeau raises the concern on a phone call with the premiers on Thursday.

“I am encouraging the prime minister to take this opportunity to work with all of us, and I’m confident that he will,” Horgan said.

“To say broadly to all Canadians, stay where you live, reduce your social interactions, do only those things that are essential to you and your family and your business and your employment, and other than that, stay tight, stay focused on bending that curve.”

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Coronavirus: B.C. premier on a mechanism to ensure non-essential out-of-province visitors stay home – Nov 18, 2020

Canadians have a legal right to travel from province to province and there has been a reluctance to limit travel between provinces. It is unclear how British Columbia would enforce any rules around non-essential travel including travel from other provinces.

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“We need to make sure that those who want to come to British Columbia must only do so if it is essential for their business or well-being. Beyond that we need to stay in our tight social circles,” Horgan said.

“The people of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba need to know they should stay in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba until we get to a place where we can distribute a vaccine across the country.”