On Parliament Hill

Double Standard Unfairly Benefits Asylum Seekers

  • Ted Falk, Author
  • Member of Parliament, Provencher

Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that he was extending the closure of the US border for another month.

In our riding of Provencher, as with many ridings, our border communities are inextricably linked with those on the US side. People cross the border for work, recreation, to access healthcare, and to visit family.

Since the implementation of the COVID-19 restrictions, people have been prevented from crossing for things as important as funerals, graduations, weddings, and visiting sick relatives.

There are even those who have a spouse, partner or fiancé on the US side who are being prevented from crossing due to unclear regulations and mixed messaging coming from Ottawa.

When the border restrictions were first brought in, the Prime Minister clearly stated an exemption for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their family members, including those who held US citizenship. People planned their lives accordingly, and then Justin Trudeau pulled the rug out from under them.

Like so many instances during the past few months, what Justin Trudeau said and what his government did, failed to line up. The rules have slowly shifted and morphed and the lack of clear communication from Ottawa has left CBSA officials unclear on who is restricted and who is exempt.

As a result, some Canadians have been unable to see their family in months.

That is, unless you’re claiming asylum.

Initially, the Prime Minister stated that “asylum seekers”, including illegal migrants, would continue to be allowed to cross into Canada, despite the risk to public health – particularly at the busiest crossing, Roxham Rd. in Quebec, which shares a border with New York, the US epicenter of the virus.

On March 16th he changed his mind and finally clamped down on illegal crossings. Those crossing illegally from the US were – and, in most cases, continue to be – turned back. As were those making asylum claims at legal border crossings.

Then, at the end of April, Justin Trudeau changed course again, quietly lifting the restrictions for those claiming asylum who have family in Canada.

To be clear, Canadians with family in the US have been prevented from seeing them, but those claiming “asylum” can cross because they have a family member in Canada? This double standard is ridiculous to say the least.

If Justin Trudeau thinks it’s “safe” for asylum seekers to enter Canada, why is it not safe for Canadians and their loved ones to cross?¬† Why one group and not the other? Why the double standard?

I had hoped that, given the uncertain times, this was just an oversight on the part of the government, but the longer this issue remains undealt with, it begins to look more and more like the virtue-signaling Trudeau of old.

While his government is busy working to shift responsibility for this latest failure, I will continue to stand up for my constituents and their families and call for common-sense solutions.