An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
NOTHING RAISES THE HACKLES of the average British Columbian like an out-of-province licence plate.
First it was the Albertans, who made themselves unpopular with their provincial government’s stand on wine and pipelines. Now it’s the Americans, who supposedly look on Canada as the peaceful promised land in comparison to the chaos in their own country.
They aren’t supposed to enter Canada unless they’re on their way to somewhere else, like Alaska, but there are stories about fibbing at border crossings.
Premier John Horgan says we should be civil and respectful to our American cousins. Borrowing from Dr. Bonnie Henry’s hallmark line, he suggests, “Be calm. Be Kind. And we’ll be safe.”
He has some not-so-sympathetic advice for Americans who drive into Canada, too. If they feel uncomfortable, they should take the bus, he says.
Or ride a bike. Or get their plates changed.
There’s no doubt the leakage of U.S. citizenry across our border has created tension. One can understand the urge to head north. That country has a terrible record of dealing with COVID-19, racking up record numbers of cases and deaths even though Donald Trump would like to think otherwise.
But, while we would welcome the business at any other time, especially on the B.C. Day long weekend, we don’t want Americans here right now. The border is closed to non-essential travel for good reason.
There are tales from Americans of being harassed and their vehicles vandalized here in B.C. We shouldn’t be doing that — it’s not the polite Canadian way.
Before we get all indignant the next time we see a plate from Washington state, Oregon, Idaho or anywhere else down south, we should understand there are legitimate reasons for some of them to be here. Business or family, for example.
So let’s resist the urge to go on a rant, and instead stay calm and kind.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.