Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - 02:38 pm

Gov. Doug Burgum today joined Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte and the premiers of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in a joint letter urging President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to restore pre-pandemic hours of operation at the U.S.-Canada land border ports.

The joint letter signed by Burgum, Gianforte, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney requests that the U.S. and Canada work together to reinstate full hours of operation at shared ports of entry, saying doing so will improve trade activity and reduce inflationary pressure on both sides of the border.

Burgum noted that the Canadian government announced this week it is dropping all COVID-19 restrictions for travelers on Oct. 1. The joint letter also refers to President Biden’s recent comment that the pandemic is over.

“Resuming pre-pandemic hours of operation at our shared ports of entry is long overdue. We strongly urge our federal governments to remove this burden that forces travelers and businesses to drive long distances and spend more on fuel and labor, incurring unnecessary costs at a time of high inflation and workforce challenges,” Burgum said. “Continuing down this current path will only further damage our economy and fuel concerns that these reduced hours of operation may become permanent, which would run counter to longstanding efforts to ensure that people and goods can move freely across the border between our friendly nations.”

The joint letter also was sent to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Canadian Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino. Last week, Burgum welcomed a decision by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to temporarily expand hours of operation at three ports of entry on the U.S.-Canada border in North Dakota.