U.S. Sen. Tina Smith said Wednesday she has repeatedly pressed Canadian officials on issues affecting the Minnesota’s Northwest Angle - which cannot be accessed by land without traveling briefly through Canada.
Smith urged the U.S. State Department to address new Canadian restrictions that are hurting Minnesotans who own homes and businesses in the Northwest Angle.
Her statement comes a day after U.S. Reps.Pete Stauber and Michelle Fischbach held a roundtable in International Falls to discuss the impact of the 13 month border closure to businesses, families, local economics and other aspect of border life.
Currently, due to border restrictions recently enacted by Canada, Angle residents, tourists and business owners are required to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test in order to travel through Canada to the Angle. But with limited PCR testing available in rural areas, Smith said the restrictions, which apply regardless of an individual’s vaccination status, must be addressed.
“Minnesota’s Northwest Angle cannot be accessed by land without traveling briefly through Canada," said Smith, D-Minn., in a news statement Wednesday.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Government has severely restricted cross-border travel, and the uniform policy that treats all cross-border travel equally creates major problems for exclaves like the Northwest Angle,” wrote Smith in her letter to Secretary of State Tony Blinken. “The effect of these policies is to prohibit Americans from traveling to their homes, and they have starved tourism reliant business owners of their customer base. By ignoring the unique circumstance of this community, Canadian officials have placed undue hardship on American citizens.”