Rhonda Silence

Minnesota elected officials continue to push for reopening of US-Canada border

As WTIP continues to report on a variety of issues involving the possible reopening of the United States and Canadian border, a group of Minnesota legislators is requesting the federal governments from both nations do so as soon as possible.

District 3A Rep. Rob Ecklund and State Sen. Tom Bakk were among the state legislators to sign the letter calling on both governments to safely reopen the international border after a year-long closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The bipartisan group of 19 lawmakers sent the letter earlier this month to President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging the reopening of the border.

“Having the US-Canadian border open is fundamental to our economy in northern Minnesota,” Bakk said in a copy of the letter that was sent to WTIP March 24.

The letter cites statistics from the Canadian Consulate that Canadians made 703,000 trips to Minnesota and spent $195 million in the state, and says Minnesotans spend $208 million in Canada each year.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Ecklund March 25 about the letter and other news items from the current legislative session. Among the most noteworthy items is a recent request from Gov. Tim Walz requesting the legislature in St. Paul to pass a bill that would more clearly define hate crimes and provide victims of such crimes with more support. The bill has been introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate and is awaiting a hearing, Ecklund said.

The audio below is Ecklund’s full conversation as it aired live on Daybreak.