Girl Guides of Canada cancelling trips to the U.S., citing travel concerns

Girl Guides of Canada has announced that they will not be taking any trips to the United States in the near future, citing concerns about inclusivity.

'We really wanted to make sure that no girl gets left behind,' spokesperson says

As a result of the decision by Girl Guides Canada, a nationally-sponsored trip to a camp in California that was scheduled for this summer has been changed to a different destination. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)

Girl Guides of Canada has announced it will not be taking any trips to the United States in the near future, citing concerns about inclusivity. 

"While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain," international commissioner Sharron Callahan and director of provincial operations Holly Thompson wrote in a joint advisory issued Monday afternoon. 

"This includes both trips that are over or under 72 hours and any travel that includes a connecting flight through an American airport," the advisory says.

The statement does not directly mention — but appears to be a reaction to — the executive orders U. S. President Donald Trump has signed restricting travel to the United States.

Trump's first travel ban temporarily prohibited people from seven Muslim-majority countries from coming to the U.S. It was subsequently halted by the courts, prompting the president to issue a second executive order. The second order removed Iraq from the list of banned countries, but visa processing for travellers from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya will be suspended for 90 days once the ban goes into effect on March 16.

The travel bans have led to confusion about who can and who can't travel to the United States — some Canadians and permanent residents living in Canada have reported problems gaining entry to the U.S. 

'No girl gets left behind'

Sarah Kiriliuk, national manager of marketing and communications for the Girl Guides of Canada, said the decision is a precautionary move. 

  "We have lots of girls across the country that travel every year overseas and to the U.S.," she told CBC News Network. 

  "We really wanted to make sure that no girl gets left behind."

She said that trips are planned months in advance and it would be disappointing if anyone got to the border and was turned away. 

"We wanted to make sure there was zero risk," she said. 

Kiriliuk said that until now, no trip to the U.S. has been cancelled or delayed because of the travel ban. 

Community reaction 

 Kristin Maier, a Brownie leader in Penticton, B.C., said she's happy to hear about the advisory. 

"The ability of our members to equally enter the United States is uncertain under new laws set by president Donald Trump," she told CBC News. She said she is "beyond happy to be part of an organization that takes such a clear stance on equal rights and equal opportunities."

Other people on Twitter shared their thoughts: 

As a result of the decision by Girl Guides Canada, a nationally-sponsored trip to a camp in California that was scheduled for this summer has been changed to a different destination.

"This was a very difficult decision to make," wrote Callahan and Thompson. 

"We hope that members will appreciate this reflects our commitment to inclusivity and equal opportunities for all girls and women."


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