Baby it’s strange out there

Penticton Herald - - OPINION - DAN AL­BAS

There are un­usual things hap­pen­ing in Canada right now. This week we learned that a song writ­ten in 1944, “Baby, It’s Cold Out­side”, will no longer be played dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son by broad­cast­ers such as CBC, Rogers and Bell Me­dia.

Ear­lier this year, the City of Vic­to­ria re­moved the statue of John A. Mac­don­ald in front of Vic­to­ria City Hall.

And soon I pre­dict en­ter­ing into Canada il­le­gally from the United States to claim asy­lum will no longer be termed as “il­le­gal.”

It will in­stead be­come an “ir­reg­u­lar en­try.” Why? In early Oc­to­ber, CBC re­ported that our Liberal Gov­ern­ment qui­etly changed the Cana­dian im­mi­gra­tion depart­ment web­site.

Where it once read ìil­le­gal cross­ings into Canada” it now reads “ir­reg­u­lar cross­ing into Canada.”

The Liberal Gov­ern­ment is also set to sign the UN Com­pact on Mi­gra­tion.

Part of the com­pact text, clause 33(c), reads: “ed­u­cat­ing me­dia pro­fes­sion­als on mi­gra­tion-re­lated is­sues and ter­mi­nol­ogy.”

In other words, this could be in­ter­preted to mean re­port­ing on ir­reg­u­lar cross­ings into Canada is ac­cept­able but re­port­ing on ìil­le­gally cross­ing into Canada” may be­come un­ac­cept­able. How would this be en­forced? The UN Mi­gra­tion Com­pact is a non-bind­ing agree­ment, how­ever in Mr. Trudeau’s re­cent bud­get up­date, a $595-mil­lion me­dia sub­sidy fund was an­nounced.

This me­dia sub­sidy will in­evitably have some terms and con­di­tions that will be re­quired to be met.

Pos­si­bly com­pli­ance with UN agree­ments could be one of them.

Cana­di­ans have al­ways strongly sup­ported le­gal im­mi­gra­tion into Canada.

Many Cana­di­ans have en­dured a lengthy process, of­ten con­sid­ered to be “wait­ing in line” fairly, and fol­low­ing all of the rules and reg­u­la­tions.

This is why cross­ing a border be­tween of­fi­cial border cross­ings is il­le­gal and not ir­reg­u­lar.

While there are some pro­vi­sions to en­sure those in a life or death sit­u­a­tion can cross a border, these cases are quite rare.

Cur­rently Canada has over 38,0000 peo­ple who have en­tered Canada il­le­gally since Jan­uary 2017 and this in turn has placed a huge back­log on the refugee process and taxes pro­vin­cial so­cial ser­vices sys­tems, such as is the case with On­tario and Que­bec. The Par­lia­men­tary Bud­get Of­fi­cer re­ported that il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, on av­er­age, costs tax­pay­ers over $14,000 for each in­di­vid­ual case. It is es­ti­mated over $340 mil­lion was spent in fis­cal 2017-18 and the costs are ex­pected to in­crease by an­other $400 mil­lion in the 2019-2020 fis­cal year. The costs paid by Prov­inces is not in­cluded in these fig­ures.

Que­bec has re­cently an­nounced that it will ac­cept nearly 8,000 fewer im­mi­grants and refugees in 2019 com­pared to 2018.

These types of an­nounce­ments im­pact all cit­i­zens try­ing to legally come to Canada who might de­sire to live in Que­bec.

From my per­spec­tive, sup­port­ing le­gal im­mi­gra­tion is how one joins our Cana­dian fam­ily.

Suggest­ing that com­ing to Canada “ir­reg­u­larly” im­plies a very dif­fer­ent mean­ing from en­ter­ing il­le­gally.

I strongly sup­port le­gal im­mi­gra­tion as I be­lieve all Cana­di­ans do.

My ques­tion this week: Do you be­lieve that cross­ing a border be­tween of­fi­cial border cross­ings is il­le­gal or should it be termed as ir­reg­u­lar?

I can be reached at Dan.Al­[email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Al­bas is MP for the fed­eral rid­ing of Cen­tral Okana­ganSim­ilka­meen-Ni­cola.

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