GOP bill helping Alaskan cruise ships circumvent Canadian travel ban through Feb. 2022 moves forward
UPDATED 10:47 AM PT – Tuesday, May 25, 2021
A group of GOP lawmakers from Alaska are applauding Joe Biden for helping out the state’s cruise industry in a rare act of bipartisanship.
On Monday, Biden signed the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act to temporarily allow American cruise ships to sail directly from Washington State to Alaska without having to dock in Canada. The law is meant to be a stopgap measure allowing vessels to subvert current law mandating they have to dock at foreign ports when they enter foreign waters.
Back in February, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau extended a ban on international cruise ships through February 2022. GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said this became a rallying point for bipartisan support.
“I think that motivated a lot of people, even beyond Alaska, saying hey we’re not going to let Canada dictate who can visit another state in America,” he stated. “So this bill essentially bypasses Canada…by the way unanimous in the Senate.”
The Alaska Tourism Restoration Act—allowing cruise ships to sail to AK—is on its way to @POTUS. Thx to my colleagues for helping Alaskans in need—small business owners who were on the brink or ruin. To America: Alaska is open! The time is now for the experience of a lifetime.
— Sen. Dan Sullivan (@SenDanSullivan) May 20, 2021
The delegation said this was an urgent matter while pointing out agued Alaska’s cruise season starts in June and trickles into September. In the meantime, the law is expected to stay in effect until Canada lifts its travel restrictions.