Opening Canadian ports will be done ‘safely’ and ‘responsibly’, says PM

Opening Canadian ports will be done 'safely' and 'responsibly', says PM
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The engines are running, Deuce Day’s classic cars, are ready to return to Victoria.

“They build these cars, they’re works of art, and they want to show them, and what better place than here to show your car off?” said Al Clark, the founding organizer of the event.

Deuce Days had grown too large and expensive for Clark to run. The event was almost retired last year.

Today, however, Destination Greater Victoria announced they’d bought the event and would be bringing the Deuce Days back.

“I get emotional. I got people coming from all over the world. It means a lot,” said Clark.

“It’s a real positive economic contributor but it’s also beloved to residents as well,” said Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria.

Deuce Days will run on the third weekend of July, every three years, starting in 2022.

“This is amazing,” said Bruce Williams, CEO of Greater Victoria’s Chamber of Commerce. “This is another sign that we’re on the road to recovery.”

It’s a shot of hope for the struggling tourism sector. Deuce Days historically has brought in 2 million dollars to the local economy.

But with Canada’s ports remaining closed to international cruise ships until February of next year due to the pandemic, Greater Victoria’s economy is staring down the pipe of a $180-million loss.

Making things worse, an American senator has tabled three bills that would allow American cruise ships to make bypassing the Canadian ports permanent — a change that could decimate Victoria’s already struggling tourism sector.

“If the cruise industry is at risk, there is going to be some very severe consequences to our infrastructure,” said Nursey.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, today in Coquitlam, stopped short of making any promises to reopen Canadian ports early but added there will be more to say in the coming weeks about welcoming fully vaccinated international travellers.

“We will move responsibly forward. We will continue the reopening of our borders, but we will do it in a way that ensures the safety of all Canadians.”

Unvaccinated international travellers, “is not going to happen for quite a while,” added Prime Minister Trudeau.

The first cruise ship to bypass Victoria departs Seattle on Monday, July 12.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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