KELOWNA, B.C. — Justin Trudeau says there’s nothing inconsistent about touting Canada as a welcoming country that embraces immigrants and refugees while simultaneously trying to head off another wave of irregular arrivals.
Indeed, the prime minister insisted Thursday that emphasizing openness to newcomers while insisting that immigration rules be followed “are not two separate things.”
Canadians embrace newcomers precisely because they have confidence in the integrity of the immigration system, he argued.
“Canadians are open because they know that immigration has been a success because of those rules, because of the support, because of the investments we make in integration,” Trudeau said as he wrapped up a two-day Liberal caucus retreat to plot strategy for the resumption of Parliament later this month.
Immigration issues are likely to be front and centre during the fall parliamentary sitting, thanks to the recent flood of would-be refugees, primarily Haitians fearing their protected status in the United States is about to end, crossing illegally into Quebec.
That follows a wave of irregular border crossers who braved freezing temperatures last winter to make their way from the U.S. into Manitoba and Quebec.
The Conservatives have blamed Trudeau for encouraging those irregular arrivals with what they deem a reckless response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s initial attempt last January to bar arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries.
“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength .WelcomeToCanada,” Trudeau tweeted at the time.
More recently, Trudeau has counter-balanced his welcoming message with an emphasis on the need to follow the rules and efforts to dispel misconceptions about how easy it is to gain admittance to Canada.
That balancing act was on display during the caucus retreat.
Source: Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press (September 7, 2017)