No Detroit Grand Prix for Canadians as push to reopen border picks up steam
WINDSOR, ONT. -- If you live on the east end, you’re going to hear some familiar sounds of roaring engines this weekend coming from the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle.
While the event is going ahead — Canadians still can’t cross to watch.
And that’s a tough pill for Windsor’s Maciejka Gorzelnik to swallow.
“I would swim over there if I could,” Gorzelnik says.
She’s been volunteering at the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix for the past few years, but thanks to the ongoing non-essential border closure — in place now for nearly 15 months — she’ll have to watch and mostly listen from across the Detroit River.
“I’ve got both vaccines, that’s why I was really hopeful this year, that we would kind of get this border situation figured out so I would be able to make it over for the Grand Prix,” she says.
She joins the legions of people on either side of the border, including separated families, property owners, business-people and tourists yearning for a target date.
Among those affected is Florida resident, John Adams.
“Prime Minister Trudeau, tear down this wall,” he tells CTV Windsor.
John Adams is the man behind attack ads circulating through Canadian media. He’d like to be able to cross to visit his property on Vancouver Island.
Prime Minister Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden are together right now at the G7 Summit in England and Adams believes its the perfect time to make a decision and act.
“You’ve got an opportunity to be a leader and open the border to a controlled group on June 22 and work out the bugs for a week,” Adams says.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu signaled earlier this week the federal government is looking at early July as the target, noting the country is on track to achieve a 75 per cent single dose and 20 per cent double dose vaccination rate at about that time.
She also notes the government is tracking case rates, the spread of the more transmissible Variants of Concern, among other metrics.
“We do want to be careful and cautious on these next steps to ensure that we are not putting that recovery in jeopardy,” Hajdu says. “And in terms of the planning, that planning is underway.”
But Public Safety Minister Bill Blair also indicated this week there are some steps being taken to create a digital vaccine certification that can provide border guards with more detailed information about Canadian travellers.
“They’re working to include a system of vaccine verification within the ArriveCan app,” Blair says. “But even more broadly so we can be more fully integrated with the Americans but also with our other international partners.”
It’s all too late for Gorzelnik this year, but she and many others are holding out hope the wait will soon be over.
“I’ve been counting down the days till I could cross over there,” Gorzelnik says.