JUNE 18, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NIAGARA FALLS –Tony Baldinelli, Member of Parliament for Niagara Falls, is “disappointed” by the latest extension of the Canada – United States border closure announced today by Canadian federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
“Last night, while I spoke in the House of Commons addressing the transportation funding shortfalls in Budget 2021, I explained the negative impact of how the now 16-month closure, is having on our border community,” said MP Baldinelli. He added that the latest extension is crushing for the local summer tourism season, which relies heavily on road tripping visitors travelling across the international border from the United States.
“Families have been torn apart. Businesses have closed, and many tourism workers have been thrown out of jobs for over a year now and are at risk of losing their EI and emergency support benefits,” MP Baldinelli said when he learned of the border closures’ extension to July 21st.
During his speech, MP Baldinelli noted that the four major international bridge crossings in the riding - the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, the Rainbow Bridge and the Whirlpool Bridge in Niagara Falls, and the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge in Niagara-on-the-Lake - rely greatly on income generated from road tolls for maintenance. With the closure of those crossings to all but essential service workers and commercial trade, Baldinelli said the bridges’ income has been drastically reduced for nearly 15 months, while the bridge authorities have not received any financial assistance from the Trudeau government, despite his best efforts.
“When the American federal government stepped up to support the bridge authorities on their side of the Niagara River, financial aid from our federal government was nowhere in sight. I have written to the Minister about this issue, and still, no action has been taken.”
MP Baldinelli added transportation is a critical component to Canada’s travel and tourism industry.
“Without the important role played by the transportation sector, Canadians and international visitors alike, would be unable to experience the amazing sights, cultures, landscapes, attractions, and history that Canada has to offer. We know this well in our beautiful region of Niagara. When is this Trudeau government going to do the right thing and announce its plan to reopen our economy and areas of federal jurisdiction, including our Canada-U.S. border crossings?”
Despite what appears to be shaping up as a summer without international visitors, MP Baldinelli said it was now even more important than ever that Canadians play tourist in their own backyards and enjoy a few staycation activities across Niagara this summer, while being mindful to follow all public health guidelines.
For more information, please contact:
Communications Advisor and Legislative Assistant
Office of Tony Baldinelli, MP for Niagara Falls