Canada must control its borders: ex-deputy PM on STCA

One of the officials responsible for the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States said that reducing the number of immigrants entering Canada through irregular border crossings is not simply a matter of renegotiating or breaking the agreement, but rather said it should be focused. The federal government now has better control over borders.

The irregular border crossing at Wroxham Road along the Quebec-New York border saw a surge in immigration last year. more people crossing

Lego’s plea sparked an altercation this week between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Party leader Pierre Polivre, who took part in the debate and said: “If we are a real country, we There are borders. If this is a real Prime Minister, he is responsible for those borders.”

Trudeau later said, “If Pierre Poirivre wants to build a wall on Wroxham Road, someone can do it. is to choose to traverse the place of

John Manley — a former Deputy Prime Minister under Jean Chrétien and one of the signatories to the Safe Third Country Agreement in 2002 — is CTV’s Question Period host Vasi told Capellos in an interview that aired on Sunday. The question is whether to modernize the contract or renegotiate it.

“I think there’s another problem there, and that’s Canada’s ability to control its own borders,” Manly said. “I know it’s too simplistic to say just block off Wroxham Road, and the government’s right to say ‘If we do that, they’re going to invade somewhere else’. I know there are… probably true.”

“But the cornerstone of a country’s sovereignty is its ability to control its borders,” he added.

The STCA was first signed 20 years ago, has been in talks of modernization since 2018, and has undergone some changes in 2019. Under the STCA, people seeking refugee status in Canada or the United States must apply in the country in which they originally applied. input.

This agreement applies only to official border crossings. This means that asylum seekers who enter via unofficial checkpoints such as Wroxham Road will not be deported.

Manley said the nature of the Canada-US border adds challenges. Parts of the border are over water, most of the border is unofficial, and in some places there are even buildings that straddle the border.

“So it’s not without complications, but it’s still something that governments have to be able to do and if they can stop this, [irregular crossing]they’ll come somewhere else…it doesn’t really matter,” he said.

Legoe said this week that Trudeau should discuss renegotiating a safe third country agreement with President Joe Biden, who is in Ottawa for his first official visit to Canada in March.

But Manley said he was unsure how these discussions would go given that the deal in the first iteration was driven by Canada while the United States was reluctant to sign. .

He said that since 9/11 there has been a “significant influx of asylum seekers” from around the world who have crossed the United States to Canada to seek asylum. He said they were “very well organized”. The surge in numbers meant that Canada could not keep up, so when it took time to process their applications, they began to settle in Canada, causing “a considerable burden on social services.”

The number of immigrants crossing from Canada to the United States was also part of the number of immigrants heading the other direction, so there was little incentive for Americans to sign the agreement in the first place.

“It’s really an American problem,” said Manley. “I would say that this was a very difficult deal to reach.”

He added: And I don’t know what I can give in return. ”

Manley also said loopholes in irregular land border crossings were not considered when the deal was signed.

“The idea of ​​people coming en masse through an illegal entry point seemed unlikely at the time,” he explained. “It wasn’t a factor. We really didn’t think it would be one, and in fact it wasn’t one for quite some time.”

He said he was “heartbroken” by the number of refugees in the world, saying that while Canada had a responsibility to accommodate them “as a wealthy country”, “we should choose them and they should be mine.” It should come in the way we provide it.” for their support. ”

“The federal government has some responsibility because it controls the borders to do that,” he added. Don’t let cities and provinces become stranded.”

Using files from CTVNews.ca Senior Digital Congress Reporter Rachel Aiello

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