U.S.-Canadian Border Could Remain Closed for Some Time

U.S.-Canadian Border Could Remain Closed for Some Time
As a graduate student at Michigan State University, my friends and I would sometimes drive over to Detroit, and across the international border to Windsor, Ontario, Canada. We would go their to hit the casinos and buy Cuban cigars as this was long before gambling became further legalized in America and the Cuban trade embargo was lifted.
The Detroit-Windsor tunnel, adjacent to the motor city’s most iconic building, the Renaissance Center, is one of only two ways to enter Canada from the United States by heading south. The Ambassador Bridge, just a couple blocks southwest, is the other way to cross the Canadian border in this fashion. Neither will be an option for Michiganders, any time soon, as the border is closed due to coronavirus concerns.


Want to buy Canuck goods and services? You’re going to have to do it on the internet. If you are an American and you want to gamble in the country that borders us to the north, you’ll have to go to online casino Canada. The border will remain closed until Oct 21, and the latest public opinion polling in Canada conveys that most of the country wants access to remain cut off until the end of the year.

While this is really sad, for someone who used to live in a border state like myself, I totally understand it, given that two out of every three Canadian citizens live within about 60 miles of the American border. COVID sets the tone on anything and everything right now, and that applies to all forms of brick and mortar commerce. We were already heading towards a much more digital world before the pandemic, and now it’s all getting rapidly accelerated. Back in my MSU days, CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, came standard on the cable package in my apartment. Labatt and Molson were just as easy to find in East Lansing, MI as Miller and Budweiser. 


Canada felt like the 51st state (or “America Junior” as Homer Simpson famously put it), and we felt like we were in living in the province of Ontario west. The Detroit-Windsor area, and going back forth across the Detroit River, was something that many of us Michigan State students associated with leisure, but you can’t have as leisure until you get your own house in order. Sports is a classic example. As Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle put it, as baseball was starting to come back: “sports is a reward for having a functioning society.”

America is more dysfunctional now that at any time since the 1960s, and perhaps since the Civil War, and Canadian authorities sees that. A New York Times story ‘I Feel Sorry for Americans’: A Baffled World Watches the U.S. contains this quote: “Personally, it’s like watching the decline of the Roman Empire said Mike Bradley, the mayor of Sarnia, Ontario. 


His city is just across the St. Clair River from Port Huron, MI, just a little bit northeast of Detroit. It’s sad how it’s come to this, where Canada is deservedly looking down on us, but nothing in change until we can heal our own divisions. And that won’t happen until we have leadership that’s interested in doing that.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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