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Girl Guides Of Canada Suspend Trips To US

| by Michael Allen

The Girl Guides of Canada organization has suspended new trips to the U.S. because of travel concerns following President Donald Trump's latest travel ban.

The group's international commissioner, Sharron Callahan, and director of provincial operations, Holly Thompson, issued a statement on March 13, notes CBC News:

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

The statement didn't specifically mention Trump, but there have been travel problems for some people since the president signed his first executive order that temporarily banned travel from seven majority-Muslim countries in late January.

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A court injunction blocked that order, but Trump issued a second order in March, temporarily banning travel from six predominantly Muslim countries.

Sarah Kiriliuk, the Girl Guides of Canada's national manager of marketing and communication, explained the situation to the Toronto Star:

It also has to do with safety. We want to make sure that if our girls are traveling that they are not going to be in a risky or unsafe situation ... We can’t leave a girl behind.

We realize we had to stand by our organizational commitment of inclusivity and diversity. We talk the talk, we try and walk the walk. We’re an inclusive and a diverse organization and this is just an extension of that.

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Plans for a nationally sponsored camp in California in the summer had to be changed to another destination.

"This was a very difficult decision to make," Callahan and Thompson said in their statement, notes CBC News. "We hope that members will appreciate this reflects our commitment to inclusivity and equal opportunities for all girls and women."

"Not being able to cross a border, can you imagine what would happen?" Kiriliuk told the Toronto Star. "A group shows up at the border and one girl can’t go across -- that puts everybody in a very difficult situation. So, we want to make sure the girls are safe and that we are extending that inclusivity and diversity to all of our trips."

The Girl Guides of Canada's trips to the U.S. are usually for history, socializing or tourism.

"There’s a really big learning curve for girls in that sense as well -- going across the ocean, far away from home," Kiriliuk said.

"We are not breaching anyone’s confidentiality," she added. "The risk assessment will be done within a small circle to assess whether we think whether that trip can safely go ahead or not."

Sources: Toronto Star, CBC News / Photo credit: Girl Guides Of Canada/Facebook

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