Premier Ford to Ottawans wanting to visit Quebec: ‘Don't cross the border’
OTTAWA -- As Ottawa residents dream of a weekend at their cottage in Quebec, Premier Doug Ford is urging everyone to stay home in Ontario to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
“Let’s just stay within our own province until this gets over with,” Ford said on Friday when asked about the random police checkpoints at the Ottawa-Gatineau border.
The Quebec Government has started to ease the travel restrictions across the province, but has not said when the limits on non-essential travel will be lifted at the Gatineau-Ottawa border. Both Gatineau Police and the Surete du Quebec have set up random checkpoints at the five crossings between Ottawa and Gatineau to monitor trips since April 1.
Speaking in Toronto on Friday, Ford was asked if he was worried about Quebecers coming to Ontario now that some of the travel restrictions are being lifted in Quebec. Ford said the issue of the Canada-U.S. border and provincial borders came up during the premiers conference call on Thursday.
“We’ve all agreed that within the province, don’t cross the border. We love our Quebec neighbours, but just wait until this is all over. It’s to their benefit, our benefit and the country’s benefit.”
Ford says he has spoken with Quebec Premier Francois Legault about the issue of police checkpoints at the Gatineau-Ottawa border.
“He feels the same way I do. Let’s just stay within our own province until this gets over with, and then we can visit family members. The best bet is to just stay within your own boundaries.”
Mayor Jim Watson said earlier this week that while he respects the Quebec Government’s decision to place police patrols at the Gatineau-Ottawa border, he’s frustrated with the issue.
“Quite frankly, I don’t see how effective it is. You’ve got so many that are going across the border checkpoints – they’re not operating at all times, so I suppose you could wait until the police go to go across the border.”
Gatienau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin told CTV News Ottawa that 1,700 vehicles were sent home at the Gatineau-Ottawa border last weekend because police deemed the trip “non-essential.” The mayor said he supports the Quebec Government's decision to limit non-essential trips across the Ottawa River.
“Ottawa is a hot zone, we’re a cold zone and we have to protect ourselves.”