Ottawa, March 27 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that it is in the US and Canada’s interests to keep the border unmilitarised after the United States floated the idea of placing troops on the Canada-US border.
“Canada and the United States have the longest unmilitarized border in the world, and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way,” Trudeau said on Thursday at Rideau Cottage where he has been in self-isolation, Xinhua reported.
The White House is considering deploying 1,000 troops about 25 km from the 8,891-km-long border and using remote sensors to look out for irregular migrants, according to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
After Trudeau’s remarks, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told a press conference that Canada is strongly opposed to the U.S. idea of sending troops to the border to intercept illegal migrants as part of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Canada is strongly opposed to this US proposal and we’ve made that opposition very, very clear to our American counterparts,” Freeland said.
She said Canada became aware of the possibility of troop movements near the border “a couple of days ago.”
“We understand the concerns about the coronavirus. We share those concerns, very much,” she said. “We’ve said we really don’t think this is the right way to treat a trusted friend and military ally.”
Canada and the United States implemented a mutual ban on non-essential travel across the border last week, which includes trips for recreational purposes.
But two sides continued allowing trade, commerce and cross-border essential workers to move back and forth over the border.
The United States caught more than 4,400 migrants at the Canada-US border between October 1, 2018 to September 30 of 2019. About half of those were of Mexican nationality, while 322 were Canadian citizens, according to CBC.