A Conservative Government will withdraw Canada from the UN Global Compact for Migration

December 10, 2018

Canada’s Conservatives support Canada’s long standing reputation for being a generous country to refugees. Canadians understand the importance of opening our doors and hearts to those fleeing persecution and violence.

The Conservative Caucus in Ottawa has also stood for secure borders and a safe and orderly immigration system. We believe Canada must be in control of our borders and have full autonomy over who enters our country. That is why we strongly oppose Justin Trudeau’s signing on to the UN Global Compact for Migration (GCM). Canadians and Canadians only, should make decisions on who comes into the country and under what circumstances, not foreign entities like the United Nations.

In defense of the Pact, its supporters have pointed to its non-binding nature. However, non-binding agreements like the GCM can become customary international law and inform the interpretation of domestic law. Canadian judges have cited these kinds of agreements in their decisions before: Baker v Canada [1999] 2 SCR 817, R v Hape [2007] 2 SCR 292, and Ordon Estate v. Grail [1998] 3 SCR 437.

The GCM’s negative affect on a free press’ ability to hold a government to account is also quite troubling. The Pact contains troubling language around “sensitizing and educating” journalists on how they should report about immigration. Journalists should be free to scrutinize the federal government on immigration policy without influence from an international body.

Instead of committing Canada to multinational migration agreements which infringe on our sovereignty, Justin Trudeau should instead focus on fixing the crisis he created at the Canada-US border. Just last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that, if left unaddressed, this crisis will cost taxpayers $1.1 billion by 2020, not including the hundreds of millions of dollars already incurred by the provinces.

Tens of thousands of asylum seekers crossed the border illegally into Canada last year. Thousands more are crossed illegally this year. A loophole in the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) has encouraged these illegal and unsafe border crossings.

Under the STCA, persons seeking refugee protection must make a claim in the first country in which they arrive (either Canada or U.S.), unless they qualify for an exception to the Agreement. It however only applies to land points of entry. This loophole prevents refugees who cross the Canada-US border illegally from being turned away. Instead, they are arrested and able to start a claims process to stay in Canada.

The United States possesses a “safe third country” designation. This means it has a strong refugee protection system as asylum seekers are afforded the same protection as they would in Canada. Persons coming from a safe country and not directly fleeing persecution should therefore not be able to ignore our laws and enter Canada illegally.

The influx of illegal border crossings is not only taking up the much needed resources of the local communities and the provinces, but it is also causing delays in processing legitimate refugee claims. Those crossing the border illegally into Canada are merely jumping the queue and sabotaging the refugee process for many individuals in dire need of seeking refuge.

For this reason, the loophole must be closed and the STCA extended to in-land claims. This will deter illegal crossings as those coming over from the U.S. will realize that they are not immune to the law due to a technicality.In Parliament, the Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer tabled a Motion that called on the Liberal government to act to stop the influx of illegal border crossers entering Canada from the United States. Not surprisingly, every Liberal and NDP MP in the House of Commons voted against it. It was therefore defeated, despite every Conservative MP voting for it.

Scheer also introduced a unanimous consent motion in Parliament last week calling on the government to not sign onto the Global Compact for Migration. This motion was also defeated.

As a result, Scheer announced that a Conservative government will withdraw Canada from the UN Global Compact for Migration.

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