Border closure means new challenges for international couples

By Gordon Lambie

Lydia Pouliot has not seen her boyfriend Jon Higgins in 103 days, even though he lives less than five kilometres away. Although the couple and their children had been happily living together for months prior to March 21st of this year, they are now facing a challenging separation a because of what lies between their two homes: the Canada/US border.
“Neither of us is sleeping well, and we’re worried all the time with everything that is going on,” Pouliot said, explaining that the closure of the border forced them to face a challenge unlike anything they have faced before.
Border crossings for the purposes of reuniting immediate family has technically been possible since June 12, and the Mansonville resident said that she’s received assurances that the local crossing would allow for it in her case despite the fact that she and Higgins aren’t married. With each working on their respective side of the border, however, she argued that the reality of the situation doesn’t actually make it possible.
“Who has four consecutive weeks of vacation time?” she asked, pointing out that a two-week quarantine on either side of the 4.1 km gap stretches out even the shortest face-to-face meeting to a completely unreasonable span of time.
Pouliot said that she and her boyfriend have been writing to officials across a range of levels on both sides of the border to very little effect.
“We feel ignored,” she said, explaining that the only response she received from the office of Brome-Missisquoi MP Lyne Bessette called their problem “isolated” and said that it was not an issue that would be addressed.

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