Trudeau halfheartedly enforces Canadian laws to show up Trump on migration
On January 28th, in response to the Trump travel ban on people from seven countries where Muslims account for a majority, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, tweeted, "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength." It seems people have taken our Prime Minister at his word.
People have been crossing over our Southern border and showing up in Canada claiming refugee status from the United States. The head of Canada’s Border Agents union has warned publicly that we have a crisis on our hands. As an example, the union cited the fact that in Hemmingford, Quebec, a rural border town that there were 744 illegal crossing in 2014 while in the first two months of this year 650 people have crossed illegally. Manitoba and our Western provinces have had a similar experience. The RCMP has said that there were 1,280 illegal border crossings across the U.S.-Canada border last year, up from 424 the year before. The City of Ottawa is now debating becoming a Sanctuary city and joining Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Hamilton, London and Guelph that have passed motions offer municipal services to immigrants, legal and illegal refugees. There is the bizarre New Democratic Party battle cry to have the US declared an unsafe destination so that we can bring in even more illegal migrants, never mind the 80,000 Canadian ‘snowbirds that seek shelter ever year in the southern United States from winter. Then there is the ‘old chestnut’ of the Trudeau government’s pledge to accept thousands of Syrian refugees and resettle them in Canada, and after a year the government cuts off federal support, and these new Canadians get shifted to the Provinces and cities to support them.
In the grand scheme of things, this in and of itself, is not a crisis, though politically divisive, though some would like it to be a crisis. The Trudeau government and its Members and Ministers have done their best to make political hay out of the whole affair charging that their critics are racists and bigots. Some are, but the majority are not. The Liberals successfully branded the Harper government in the election campaign as being anti-immigrant and they used images of a lifeless little boy on a Turkish beach to make their case and in the aftermath of the Quebec mosque shootings blamed Conservatives for fanning the flames of hatred. Then the Trudeau Liberals used an Islamophobia motion in Parliament to, in their minds, cement the fact that the Opposition was anti-Muslim. The Opposition, easily baited, fell right into the Liberal trap. But there is a danger to all who try and polarize Canadian society on the issues of Immigration, refugees, and racism. One of the reasons I am so proud of my spouse, Lisa MacLeod, MPP as a Parliamentarian, is that when hatred is swirling around us, she is having a day of inclusion with religious leaders from our Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith communities in Ottawa on Monday, even as it seems members of even our own National government are trying to divide us from our neighbors.
The danger to Canadians and to the government in recent events is not one that is rooted in refugees climbing across the border in staggering numbers or that Islamic terrorists will swarm across the Canadian border in droves to attack the United States. The numbers of illegals are problematic but not high, and the numbers of terrorists who have tried to enter the US to date from Canada are very few. This could all change and we could find ourselves in a real pickle with the Americans. It was reported that in 2015 there were 900 FBI-led terror investigations going on in the US, and probes were active in every state. The problem for Canada is one of perception, at home and abroad, and particularly in the US. According to a Canadian government report, released in the last month, some 300 foreign terrorists, spies, and criminals tried to access Canada last year legally through Visa applications and were turned down. Some 1.4 million people try to enter Canada on Visa every year, so the numbers of security threats are not staggering, even though they are concerning, when set against the 900 South of the border. These are the bad people that tried to use legal means to enter this country.
Now with our borders wide open, the government half-heartedly trying to enforce Canadian laws so that they can show up President Trump, the bad guys have a new avenue. Our Public Safety Minister has even publicly mused about how to prevent people from crossing the border illegally, asking if the Mounties are supposed to lock arms along the border to stop the flow. The perception at home is a mixed one that we have a problem at our borders. With ISIS foreign fighters being sent home, some of which are Canadians, they have new avenues of attack. The perception abroad is that our security is lax and if you want a refuge come to Canada. If you need a base of operations to strike the US, to aid the 900 or so terrorists already there, then Canada would seem a good place.
The perception in the US with a security-minded administration is that Canada’s borders are wide open and represent risk to the US. On March 10th U.S. Homeland Secretary, John Kelly, on a visit to Canada warned there have been several terrorists plots to attack passenger aircraft operated by Air Canada and U.S. airlines, something that Air Canada was very quick to deny. But Kelly, a very intelligent, former senior military commander, did not pull the line out of the air, he was clearly briefed on it, and in the Homeland Security Secretary’s mind, right or wrong, we have a problem. His perception becomes our reality. Shockingly, according to the rumor mill, with our border and points of entrance now wide open, our national air carrier under terrorist threat, and viewed as such by the US, the Trudeau government is set to announce the privatization of Canadian airports in the coming budget. No announcement could be more poorly planned or timed.
In closing, remember the opening line of Prime Minister Trudeau’s tweet to one up US President, Donald J. Trump. Remember it well and mark it on the calendar as it is the start of his undoing as Prime Minister of Canada. The Prime Minister Tweeted, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you.” I think that this is what Shakespeare had in mind when he used the phrase, “hoist with his own petard.”