Border rule changes keep N.B. man from seeing dying grandfather in N.S. one last time

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The Nova Scotia border will be open for New Brunswickers to travel freely starting on Wednesday. But that isn’t helping a New Brunswick man who was unable to enter the province last week arrive at a sense of closure.

Read more:
N.S. families upset about modified quarantine restrictions for N.B. travellers

On the eve of Nova Scotia opening its borders to allow people in New Brunswick to travel freely into the province without restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ben Carter of Moncton, N.B. says the border opening has come too late for him.

“I am just really, really upset that I wasn’t able to say goodbye to my grandfather,” said Carter.

Carter said his 78-year-old grandfather died of Stage 4 liver cancer on June 24, two days after Nova Scotia made a last-minute change to its restrictions requiring people in New Brunswick to self-isolate based on their vaccination status.

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Carter said he was planning a trip to see his grandfather on June 23, when the border was originally expected to open.

Read more:
N.S. announces new border restrictions with N.B. on eve of Atlantic Bubble reopening

“With the border not opening on the 23rd, I was not able to go see him in Nova Scotia,” said Carter.

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Unable to get enough time off work to follow the modified self-isolation rules, Carter said there was no time to apply for compassionate entry to the province and his grandfather died before he was able to say goodbye in person to the man he said he has looked up to his entire life.

“He was the best man that I have ever known,” said Carter.

Carter said he understands Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin’s responsibility to keep the province safe. But the last-minute policy changes were heartbreaking for him and his family.

It’s been an emotional time for families separated by provincial borders, said Cathy Conway of Moncton, whose mother died almost two weeks ago.

Conway said she was granted compassionate entry allowing her to visit her mother in Halifax before she died, but she said the province needs to provide more supports for families who may be separated in the event of another wave.

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“I have a number of friends from out of province who’ve not been present when their parents have passed either suddenly or after a long illness. There really needs to be some more support. It is a very traumatic thing for somebody to go through,” she said.

Carter said he is travelling to Halifax on Wednesday morning to be with his family. He said he will cherish the time he was able to spend with his grandfather over FaceTime and the family plans on holding a celebration of life once restrictions are lifted even further.

“Everything is up in the air and we don’t know about the future,” he said, adding that the ongoing uncertainty makes it hard to find closure.

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