Just when I thought that some Canadians were starting to get a grip on the immigration vs. refugee vs. migrant thing, Quebec’s Premier François Legault steps up to muddy the waters. Premier Legault, according to an article in the Globe and Mail, wants to “temporarily reduce immigration to the province by more than 20 per cent, even as Ottawa promotes higher immigration as the key to a stronger economy.” On this one issue, as I have said before, more than once, Justin Trudeau is correct: Canada needs to increase the number of productive, economic immigrants who come here every year, the increases need to be substantial and they need to go on, year after year after year. It is not madness to think that we might have 100 Million Canadian by the year 2100.
I’m guessing that M Legault, too, knows that Quebec, like all of Canada, needs more productive citizens, for its long term economic health but, as the article says, “More than 90 per cent of the thousands of people who have crossed into Canada between official points of entry over the past two years have done so at Roxham Road in southwestern Quebec near Champlain, N.Y. The Quebec government is seeking $300-million in compensation from Ottawa, but Mr. Legault said Ottawa is only offering to cover $140-million.” Of course a lot of those migrants rush to Toronto, but many stay in Quebec and I’m sure Premier Legault is feeling a lot of political heat over that. His response is, as is so often the case for politicians, somewhat (actually a lot) wrong because, while I agree that Quebec is burdened with too many
illegal irregular migrants (whose presence anywhere in Canada is 100% Justin Trudeau’s personal fault*) Dominic LeBlanc is quite correct when he says that “reducing immigration at a time when many Quebec businesses are facing severe labour shortages will be a challenge.” Of course it will be, it’s a dumb thing to do but, quite possibly, politically very necessary.
What Premier Legault really wants to do is, of course, to stop improper migration into Quebec; everyone with the brains the gods gave to green peppers wants that … but that, the bit about brains, excludes Team Trudeau which calculates only in short term, public relations cycles.
We already know that, for example, “A person of “national security concern” was granted permanent residency “due to a series of failures” by the Canadian border agency and immigration department.” Put simply, as I understand it from subsequent reports, a Somali with well established criminal history was granted permanent resident status because some officials ignored reports from the security service, perhaps because, as I have explained elsewhere, they were too sensitive to the government’s political aims and forgot that they, as apolitical public servants, have to enforce the rule, above all. If the rules need changing then that is the proper role of politicians.
The rules do need changing.
We need to change the rules, including those well grounded in international law, that create a loophole through which thousands of illegal migrants can stream into Canada and every year, from a country in which they had already found refuge, and then claim refugee status all over again. That’s asylum shopping and Canada is being played for a sucker because the prime minister screwed up back in 2016.
Our government (and the Conservative government-in-waiting) needs to, as I keep saying, explain to Canadians that:
- We need more and More and MORE legitimate immigrants to help us sustain and grow our country; and
- We want to do our best ~ the greatest good for the greatest number, within our resources, for refugees; but
- When it comes to illegal migrants … well, this time, really, None is too many.
We need to obey the laws and honour the treaties to which we have agreed but, as Germany’s recent experience shows us, maybe we should not be quite as trusting and generous as we might, usually wish. Other exemplary liberal democracies, like Australia, Britain and Germany, detain asylum seekers while their claims are being processed and then conduct speedy deportations when, as is almost always the case with migrants arriving from a safe third country, their claim for asylum is found, by an independent tribunal, to be bogus.
The fact is that the Canada-USA safe third country agreement only permits Canada to turn back asylum seekers who arrive at established border crossing points … the illegal migrants are exploiting a loophole in our laws and they are banking on the notion that Canadians are too “nice” to want to do much about it.
I need to make one more point: We, Canadians, should understand what motivates these illegal migrants ~ most of them 95%+, for sure, just want to make better lives for themselves and their children, and we should not reject anyone, ever, on the grounds of race or creed or sex. Real, legitimate refugees need to be helped in the best ways we can.
But refugees are not always, in fact not often, the sorts of people we would, in the normal course of events, want to have as immigrants. We need to balance our human duty to help those in need with our other duty, to future generations, to build a better, safer, more prosperous Canada for all.
Quebec is trying to address a very legitimate problem: tens of thousands of illegal or improper or irregular migrants, call them what you will, are streaming into Canada, exploiting a loophole in our laws, and straining our social safety net; but Quebec is going after exactly the wrong target: legal, desirable immigrants … all, I suspect, because it’s not nice to say that illegal migrants are unwelcome and unwanted and that the flow must be stooped.
Stopping that flow, doing what’s needed for all of Canada, requires new leadership in Ottawa.
* I don’t want to bang on about this forever, but Justin Trudeau sent out a most ill-considered message, downright immature message on social media back in 2016, welcoming (inviting) people to come to Canada as refugees. He was, in fact, in full Trump mode, using social media without much thinking, in that particular case trying to make himself the anti-Trump, generous and welcoming where the US President is selfish and forbidding.