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Alaska Congressional Delegation: Canada Decision to Ban Cruise Ships in Canadian Waters is Unacceptable

The Canadian Minister of Transport, the Honorable Omar Alghabra, announced two new Interim Orders which ban pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022. The effect of these combined bans will prevent Alaska sailings out of Seattle via Canada. Following the announcement, U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska, released the following statement:

“As the state with the most extensive shared border with Canada, the Alaska Delegation has worked in good-faith to seek compromise over border crossing restrictions due to COVID-19, keeping in mind the health and safety of Alaskans and Canadians. Canada’s announcement to ban all cruise sailings carrying 100 people or more traveling through Canadian waters, without so much as a courtesy conversation with the Alaska Delegation, is not only unexpected—it is unacceptable—and was certainly not a decision made with any consideration for Alaskans or our economy. We expect more from our Canadian allies,” said the Delegation. “Upon hearing the announcement, we immediately reached out to Canadian and American agencies to try to understand the rationale behind this decision—particularly the duration of the ban. We are exploring all potential avenues, including changing existing laws, to ensure the cruise industry in Alaska resumes operations as soon as it is safe. We will fight to find a path forward.”

Background:

In an effort to address US-Canada border crossing issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic, in October 2020, Senators Murkowski, Sullivan Congressman Don Young, and Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-AK) sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, raising issues that have severely impacted Alaskans. In their letter, the Alaska Delegation highlighted specific, persisting challenges impacting the health and safety of Alaskans and proposed reasonable solutions.

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