The mayor of Sault Ste Marie, Michigan says his city and its Ontario counterpart can serve as a role model for border communities across the country. Much like the regional approach to reopening businesses in Ontario, Don Gerrie would like to see a similar approach to reopening the Canada-US border.
“Our relationship is unique and our twin Saults are the model for what an international border relationship should be,” says Gerrie. “I am confident that our communities can be the role model for the rest of the border communities and show that we take personal responsibility for ourselves and each other.”
Gerrie says aside from the obvious economic impact of the border closure, the twin Saults are also suffering from the social impact.
“I cannot tell you the number of people I have spoken to that are separated from family on either side of the border,” he says. “Some who are spouses and others who have family that depend on them in some way or another for care. This separation can cause larger emotional and even physical issues that may have an even larger negative impact to our communities than the COVID shutdown has.”
Gerrie goes on to say that national news coverage does little to accurately represent the local situation, pointing out that local and regional numbers pertaining to the pandemic are much lower than that of major urban centres – which he adds are hours away from our region.
The mayor says based on conversations with his constituents, Sault Ontario visitors are missed – adding that it’s critical the border be open again sooner rather than later.