PM prioritizes his branding over our borders
The Liberal government’s decision to send French- and Spanish- speaking MPs to address Haitian and Central American diasporas in the U. S. has seemingly paid off: Canadian border officials have seen a noticeable drop in the number of illegal border crossings, mainly in Quebec. The surge, which saw 3,800 cross the Quebec frontier in the first two weeks of August alone, has recently slowed to about 100 or so a day. The visits by MPs, in which they reiterated that there is no free pass into Canada, are working.
That’s good. Flying a few MPs to Florida and California to explain the law is money well spent if it stops thousands from illegally entering Canada. But this strange migration crisis — which turned into military tent cities, overwhelmed first responders, and Montreal’s Olympic Stadium being converted into a refugee camp — may still just be getting started.
A document obtained by Global News this week shows Canadian border officials believe another, potentially larger, surge of migrants could be imminent. More than 300,000 current U.S. residents are there under immigration amnesties set to expire in the coming months. Canadian officials know that false information about our immigration policies is already circulating in those (largely Central American) diasporas, via so- cial networks and local media. Even a fraction of these people heading north would rapidly create a major border crisis.
Proactive, preventative action is good. But sending MPs is only a start. The prime minister owns some personal responsibility for this crisis, thanks to his self-serving political posturing after the inauguration of U. S. President Donald Trump, best illustrated by his “Canadians will welcome you” tweet. Schmaltzy #diversityisourstrength hashtags notwithstanding, Canada actually has strict immigration regulations, and arrests those who cross the border illegally. These migrants are then entitled to a fair hearing. While some undoubtedly find a way to slide quietly into the underground economy, these laws are generally effective and thus important. A prime minister should be big enough to prioritize law enforcement over his own desire for applause.
Is a mere follow- up tweet — clearing up the first, still affable in tone, encouraging those interested in relocating to look into our process—too much to expect? It might be. The prime minister thrives on online charisma, but frequently struggles in the offline world of challenging geopolitics and unintended consequences. Expect him to keep right on tweeting platitudes while leaving the difficult aftermath for others to clean up.