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Canadian News Apr 19, 2022 6:35 PM EST

'It is what it is': Trudeau transportation minister says no plans to update travel and masking policies

Travellers in Canada are still required to wear a mask when going through airports and while flying.

'It is what it is': Trudeau transportation minister says no plans to update travel and masking policies
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

Trudeau Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said that masking guidelines will remain in Canada for the time being, as the US moved yesterday to drop its national mandate on transport.

During an appearance in Calgary on Tuesday, Alghabra said that Canada would continue to follow advice from "experts and doctors." He did not comment directly on the US's court ruling.

"The mask regulation is in place and it's based on the advice that we received from our experts and doctors and based on data. It is proven that masks prevent or reduce the transmission of COVID," he said, according to CTV News. “There is no change in our regulation… Whenever the advice that we receive changes because circumstances change, we will change our regulation. But for now it is what it is,” he continued.

A US federal judge from Florida ruled on Monday that the CDC had overstepped its authority in issuing a mask mandate. The CDC's suggestion was the premise on which the Transportation Security Administration had taken its direction.

The judge who overturned the mask mandate on airplanes, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, is a 35-year-old former Justice Clarence Thomas clerk, and was appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate in 2020.

The move was praised by state Governor Ron DeSantis, who said it was "Great to see a federal judge in Florida follow the law and reject the Biden transportation mask mandate. Both airline employees and passengers deserve to have this misery end."

The White House had an opposite reaction, stating that it was an "obviously a disappointing decision. The CDC continues recommending wearing a mask in public transit."

Travellers in Canada are still required to wear a mask when travelling through airports and while flying.

Conservative transport critic Melissa Lantsman gave her two cents on the issue in a tweet on Tuesday.

"US Judge overturns national mask mandate for planes, trains and buses. Meanwhile in Canada almost 6 million Canadians still cannot travel. We are further and further out of step with the [world]. #endthemandates," she said.

Alghabra has been criticized by other prominent Canadian voices, including Dr. Jordan Peterson, who lambasted Alghabra's proclivity to double down.

Those comments came after Alghabra said that passengers on a flight from Montreal to Cancun would "continue to face the consequences of their actions with 12 new penalties issued. 7 for non-compliance with vaccination rules and 5 for not wearing a mask. 24 in total with more to come."

The influencers were the subject of much controversy, and for a time, were even stuck in Mexico as airliners refused to provide them with flights home. These airliners include SunWing, Air Canada, and Quebec-owned Air Transat.

Peterson asked Alghabra why he felt it was appropriate to make such a big hoopla out a months-old situation, while other countries drop mask mandates and travel restrictions: "Why do you feel compelled to make so much of this? @OmarAlghabra doubles down as the rest of the world sheds mask mandates," wrote Peterson on Twitter.

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