SHELBY — Governor Greg Gianforte visited Shelby on Wednesday to discuss the impact the U.S.’s continued closure of the Canadian border is having on Montana.
The governor spent time at Mark’s Tire in Shelby talking with owner Shannon McAllister.
McAllister was not shy about discussing the impact the closure of the U.S.-Canada border is having on his tire shop: "The Canadian border’s cost us, probably, around 20 percent. That’s what we’re estimating it at. It always seems like they picked up the slack when we needed it. If we were down here, they were up and they’d come down and buy.”
Not having Canadian business also means McAllister wasn't able to hire his usual extra summer help, including high schoolers, because he didn't see the need.
"I always like to get a younger one that can work for me for three or four years. It was good experience for them, I always worked with their schedule. I enjoyed getting to know those kids. You can follow them through college and everything else. So yeah, it's kind of frustrating,” McAllister said.
Before taking a tour of the tire shop, McAllister and Gianforte spent time talking about the impact on the rest of Shelby.
“So if you think about Shelby, what kind of businesses have been impacted by the border being closed?” the governor asked McAllister.
“I would say the biggest ones are our hotels, our golf course especially,” McAllister replied.
Gianforte said there was no reason the border should still be closed.
“I’ve signed a joint letter with the Premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan along with some Western governors. We can safely reopen this border and we need to so that we can get back to normal,” said Gianforte.
The governor also noted that while the U.S.’s northern border remained closed, the U.S.’s southern border was open.
“It’s just so ironic that our southern border is open but our northern border is closed. That’s why I’m continuing to put our foot to the pedal and really encourage the Biden Administration to take the steps to safely reopen this northern border for the benefit of all Montanans,” Gianforte said.
U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines and U.S. Representative Matt Rosendale have weighed in on the closure and its impact on the state. You can read their statements here:
- Tester: https://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=8301
- Daines: https://www.daines.senate.gov/news/press-releases/daines-slams-biden-for-keeping-northern-border-closed-for-mt-while-southern-border-remains-open-to-illegal-drugs-and-immigrants-with-covid-19
- Rosendale: https://rosendale.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=114