The Trudeau government says Canada’s refugee system is working “effectively” and “doing the job it should” despite a new poll that shows 90 percent of respondents think the Liberals are not on track with their open border policy.
Instead, the parliamentary secretary to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says it’s Canadians who just don’t get it.
“The poll also shows there’s not a lot of understanding of how exactly the process works, or why it works the way it does,” said Ontario Member of Parliament Mark Holland.
The Ipsos poll in question was released Wednesday and showed that only eight percent of Canadians describe themselves as happy with the current government policy of allowing illegal refugees to enter Canada at unofficial border crossings and not be deported as illegal aliens.
A clear majority (52 percent) said refugee policy needs to change so that there isn’t a double standard for those attempting to enter Canada legally through the normal refugee process and those who simply cross at an isolated border and are picked up by police or border guards. Only 40 percent thought illegals should be allowed to seek asylum in Canada.
Holland said the Safe Third Country Agreement that Canada has with the U.S. is also working effectively, even though it only applies to people who enter Canada at official border crossings and not to those who don’t.
“The Safe Third Country agreement is monitored by the United Nations … their commentary has been stable, the agreement is working,” said Holland.
He suggested it was important for Canada to process refugees “in an orderly fashion, so we don’t have people making multiple claims to multiple jurisdictions … so the agreement we have with the United States is important.”
Critics argue that the current situation is anything but orderly.
But Holland suggest Ottawa might adapt its policy if the number of “asylum seekers” if the “trajectory of things” changes — though he did not say what that specifically referred to.
“Obviously if it comes back to us that we’re in a situation where the trajectory of things requires a realignment, we’re going to make sure we move in that direction. That’s not where we are today.”
Many think that trajectory has already changed. In Quebec, six times as many people crossed the border to seek asylum during the month of February than did in the same month the year before. As for Manitoba, where the small border town of Emerson has been in the news for months as a refugee central, four times as many “refugees” arrived in the first two months of 2017 than in the same period of 2016.
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