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Diane Francis: Border control is what Canada’s prime minister is supposed to be responsible for, not out-tweeting the leader next door

July 14th, 2018 | by Richard Paul
Diane Francis: Border control is what Canada’s prime minister is supposed to be responsible for, not out-tweeting the leader next door
Business and Finance
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Trudeau’s holier-than-thou tweet causes migrant crisis — now he needs to fix what he started

Diane Francis: Border control is what Canada’s prime minister is supposed to be responsible for, not out-tweeting the leader next door

U.S. President Donald Trump is an irrepressible and irresponsible tweeter, but so is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In January 2017, Trump imposed a “travel ban” on seven Muslim countries, but Trudeau then sent out a holier-than-thou tweet that is costing Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars and creating a permanent burden.

On January 28, 2017 at 4.20 pm, Trudeau tweeted: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.“

Justin Trudeau

@JustinTrudeau

To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength

After the Prime Minister’s tweet, embassies were deluged with requests, according to emails obtained by the National Post. Then the flood began. In a world filled with people desperately trying to get into rich countries — and an industry of smugglers to find loopholes to get them in — this was an open invitation to flood into Canada.

Before the tweet, border officials prevented 315 people a month from illegally crossing the border. Post-tweet in 2017, about 18,149 illegally crossed the border, then claimed asylum as refugees — even after entering illegally — and were allowed to stay, get welfare, education, housing, healthcare and work permits. By May 2018, the number of refugee cases pending has jumped to 54,906 from 18,348 in December 2016. That’s the population of Grande Prairie, Alberta or Granby, Quebec.

Toronto Mayor John Tory has called the situation a “crisis” and said he’s “frustrated” by the lack of help from Ottawa to mitigate a migrant flood that has cost taxpayers more than $64 million and counting.

The crush of entries into Quebec is so great that at least one Quebec politician — leader of the Parti Quebecois, Jean-Francois Lisee — is calling for a border fence with the U.S.


In January 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a “travel ban” on seven Muslim countries, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then sent out a holier-than-thou tweet that is costing Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars and creating a permanent burden. Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

What’s also reckless is that Canada is not exercising its right to deport those who come in illegally from the U.S. After the September 11 attacks, Ottawa signed the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States. This means that any non-American seeking refugee protection at Canada’s border must have first filed a refugee claim with the U.S.

The loophole migrant smugglers are using is that the Agreement only refers to those making claims at a “port of entry” and not to those who sneak in illegally. So, they slip in at insecure spots along the border.

But as Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel has pointed out, the entire Canadian border should simply be declared a “port of entry.” End of problem.

There is also a national security angle to all this incompetence: Unlike Syrian and other refugees Canada has brought in, these illegal migrants are not screened.


A family, claiming to be from Colombia, gets set to cross the border into Canada from the United States as asylum seekers on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 near Champlain, New York.Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

The initial wave consisted of mostly Haitians fearing deportation from the U.S. after Trump announced the end of temporary amnesty for them. More recently, border-crossers are Nigerian, having just arrived on a tourist visa to the U.S., with the sole purpose of slipping into Canada.

“They land in the United States, where they stay for a very short period of time, and then make their way to Canada,” Hursh Jaswal, communications director for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, told the Canadian Press.

Other claimants are from India, Turkey, Mexico, Colombia and Somalia.

Trudeau dithers instead of solving his self-created migrant crisis, and has had to allocate an additional $173 million to process illegal crossings. That figure doesn’t account for the benefits these people get for free.

The Prime Minister must arrest this and can do so by simply reaffirming all Canada’s borders as ports of entry and then deport all who have arrived illegally back to the United States where they came from.

Border control is what a leader is responsible for, not out-tweeting the leader next door.

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