B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. considers provincial COVID-19 bubble as visitors come in

Horgan skeptical on bending Canada’s freedom of movement

B.C. is attracting winter visitors from other provinces, but Premier John Horgan is skeptical that a Maritime-style travel ban is either practical or legal for the province.

The issue of inter-provincial travel was discussed at last week’s conference call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other premiers, particularly as Ontario and Quebec grapple with sharply rising coronavirus cases, Horgan said Thursday. He noted that Canadians have a constitutional right to travel within the country, and the government is seeking legal advice on what, if any, options they have.

“On the surface it would seem an easy thing to do, to just tell people not to come here,” Horgan told reporters from the legislature Jan. 14. “That’s not part and parcel of who we are as Canadians. Other premiers have expressed a similar view. We want people to stay home, stay in place until we get through this. I’ve appealed to other provincial premiers to make the same case, and they’re doing that. But despite that, British Columbians, Canadians are free to travel within the borders of Canada.”

RELATED: Yukon could be first to herd immunity, doctor says

RELATED: Experts endorse extending time between vaccine shots

In addition to the legal issues, B.C. is far larger and has longer land borders than the Atlantic provinces that unilaterally declared themselves closed to visitors to the rest of Canada early in the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Maritimes population is not as large as that of British Columbia,” Horgan said. ‘There’s only a few ways in and out, and it’s easier to manage than it would be here in B.C.”

Horgan was asked about a doctor in Whistler who raised concern about the number of out-of-province visitors who were coming to the resort community’s medical clinic. He said the problem is occurring at many places in B.C. where tourists come from other parts of Canada, and the government will consider legal advice at a cabinet retreat this week.

“I want to put this either to rest, so that British Columbians understand that we cannot do that, and we’re not going to do that, or there is a way to do it and we’re going to work with other provinces to achieve it,” Horgan said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police and fire crews at work at a fire scene at Mount Prevost School (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Classes cancelled by fire at a Duncan-area school for the second time this week

Fire this morning at Duncan area middle school follows Monday blaze at nearby elementary

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
B.C. forestry companies agree to abide by cedar protocols drafted by Indigenous council

Western Forest Products and Interfor Corporation among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

Shawn Decaire does a blessing ceremony for the Hama?Elas Community Kitchen in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Hama?Elas Community Kitchen progress shared

Strategic planning, progress made on various projects also discussed at CRDCEH meeting

Campbell River city council has given unanimous support to its mayor to continue the fight for the aquaculture industry on our coast. Black Press file photo
Campbell River city council unanimous in support of fish farms

‘I’m certainly not willing to roll over and accept a bad decision,’ says one councilor

(Black Press file photo)
One dead after single-vehicle accident in Campbell River yesterday

‘…we are hoping for a full recovery for both passengers,’ says RCMP

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance after numerous tire slashings between Jan. 12-14. (News Bulletin file)
Police seek public’s help after ‘tire slashing spree’ in central Nanaimo

Ten reports of slashed tires in the last three days, say Nanaimo RCMP

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Seiners fill the waters between Comox and Nanoose Bay during roe herring fishery. file photo, Pacific Wild
Quota debate heats up on the eve of Vancouver Island herring fishery

Industry and conservationists weigh in how much catch should be allowed as DFO decision coming soon

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Most Read