The Conservatives were in full performative outrage mode yesterday, with a Supply Day motion to demand a plan by May 11thto stop the influx of irregular border crossers seeking asylum, and for the PM to admit that his “Welcome to Canada” tweet is the cause of the problem. It’s not going to work, but it’s indicative of the way in which they are dealing with complex issues and trying to boil them down in a way that is ultimately disingenuous, while using bogus arguments like how the backlogs in this system are slowing down legitimate immigrants and refugee claimants – the immigration stream is separate and is unlikely to be affected by this influx, and when you’re talking about “legitimate” refugees, there is a great deal of difference between resettling refugees in camps and processing the claims of those who arrive on our shores to claim asylum. Those claims, yes, are slowed down, but it’s more than just this influx that is that problem, and drawing this link is a long-time Conservative tactic of trying to play immigrants and refugees off of one another.
— Amanda Connolly (@amandacconn) April 24, 2018
-take complex issue pretend there is an easy solution
– demand the government acts without offering any proposal
– tweet butt joke https://t.co/YNJ6qT0YpG
— Stephanie Carvin (@StephanieCarvin) April 24, 2018
For example, Michelle Rempel has been demanding that the government simply declare the whole border with the US to be an official port of entry for the purposes of the Safe Third Country Agreement, in order for us to simply turn back anyone who crosses from the US. See! Simple! It’s not like we need American sign-off to do so (because it’s their border too), and it does nothing about what has been driving this influx in the first place, which is less Trudeau’s tweet than the tweets of one Donald Trump. And while the government deployed MPs with linguistic ties to communities that were crossing previously, such as Haitians and Guatemalans, the influx we’re seeing right now has to do with Nigerians who are getting tourist visas for the US, and then using those to cross into Canada. To that end, we learned yesterday that the government has been sending officials to Nigeria to try and engage on the ground there, while also working with the Americans to try and get action from them that their tourist visas are being abused, so we’ll see if that has any measurable effect.
This isn’t to say that the current government isn’t blameless in all of this either. While they correctly point to the fact that the previous government made cuts to both the Immigration and Refugee Board and CBSA, which are reverberating to this day, they have had their own problems when it comes to not filling vacancies on the IRB because they changed the appointment process, and like virtually all of their appointment processes, the changes have slowed down the system to a crawl, and have touched off a slow-moving crisis within the whole of government and the courts. That’s on them 100 percent, and that is the problem that’s causing slowdowns with more than just refugee claimants, but also immigration appeals (and they are separate parts of the IRB, so again, it’s not just the influx of claimants causing problems for immigrants). But those aren’t the kinds of issues that the opposition is touching on with this issue, and it’s not the kind of simple solution that they’re trolling for, which is ultimately what’s harming the debate.