Migrations: un discours pernicieux

Manon Cornellier in Le Devoir on the Global Compact and Conservative opposition:

La planète traverse actuellement la pire crise migratoire depuis celle apparue dans la foulée de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Environ 260 millions d’humains ont quitté leur foyer pour échapper à toutes sortes de tourments ou améliorer leur sort. La grande majorité se retrouvent ailleurs dans leur pays ou dans un pays voisin. Une infime partie arrivent à fouler le sol canadien comme immigrants indépendants, membres de la famille, travailleurs temporaires ou demandeurs d’asile.

Tous cependant auront droit à un traitement modèle, le Canada ayant un des systèmes les plus élaborés, ordonnés et justes en la matière. Il est cité en exemple à travers le monde pour son équité procédurale et son professionnalisme.

L’arrivée de migrants irréguliers depuis l’hiver 2017 a semé le doute, mais ce n’est pas le système qui est défaillant, comme l’a démontré un rapport récent du directeur parlementaire du budget. Sous tous les gouvernements, il a souffert et souffre encore d’une insuffisance de ressources pour traiter sans délai ces dossiers particuliers. C’est là que le bât blesse.

À entendre les conservateurs fédéraux, visiblement influencés par Maxime Bernier et autres chantres d’une politique d’immigration plus restrictive, le gouvernement devrait simplement bloquer la route à ces migrants irréguliers. Mais aucun pays ne peut se mettre à l’abri ou freiner à lui seul les mouvements migratoires qui agitent la planète.

 C’est pour cette raison que la plupart des pays membres des Nations unies se réunissent au Maroc lundi et mardi pour signer le nouveau Pacte mondial pour des migrations sûres, ordonnées et régulières. Le Canada entend bien s’y associer, mais les conservateurs s’y opposent. Prenant le relais de Rebel.media et du chef du nouveau Parti populaire du Canada, Maxime Bernier, le chef conservateur Andrew Scheer laisse entendre que le Canada perdrait le contrôle de sa politique d’immigration. « Les Canadiens — et les Canadiens seulement — devraient décider qui vient dans notre pays et dans quelles circonstances, pas des entités étrangères comme l’ONU », a-t-il déclaré.

Le troisième principe directeur du document est pourtant clair. « Le Pacte mondial réaffirme le droit souverain des États de définir leurs priorités migratoires nationales et leur droit de gérer les migrations relevant de leur compétence, dans le respect du droit international. » Comme le fait déjà le Canada.

En entrevue au Devoir, l’ancien ministre conservateur de l’Immigration, Chris Alexander, invitait M. Scheer à rectifier le tir. Selon lui, ce pacte « n’est pas une menace pour le Canada parce qu[’il] est basé surtout sur notre expérience » et il peut avoir le mérite « d’encourager des dizaines, sinon des centaines de pays à légiférer et mieux réglementer leurs politiques d’immigration. Et si on fait ça, il y aura moins de migration irrégulière, moins de crises politiques causées par l’immigration, et cela, indirectement, est très bon pour le Canada ».

 Ce pacte n’est pas parfait et verse à maintes occasions dans l’angélisme, mais ce qu’il espère réaliser est non seulement rationnel, mais nécessaire. Comme le confiait à l’AFP Louise Arbour, représentante spéciale de l’ONU pour les migrations, l’objectif est de « maximiser les bénéfices de la migration tout en mettant en lumière ses aspects négatifs et en limitant les pratiques migratoires chaotiques et dangereuses ».

En faisant leurs choux gras depuis des mois de l’arrivée de migrants irréguliers, en préconisant la méthode forte, en entretenant une impression fausse à propos du Pacte, Andrew Scheer ne cherche pas à calmer ni même à répondre aux inquiétudes d’une partie de la population, mais à nourrir une méfiance inutile. Voilà un jeu dangereux dans un pays d’immigration comme le Canada, où la cohésion et le vivre ensemble imposent de susciter une meilleure compréhension des enjeux liés au traitement et à l’intégration des nouveaux arrivants, pas à propager des faussetés.

Soumis à des pressions internes, bon nombre de pays qui cet été approuvaient le texte négocié s’opposent maintenant au Pacte ou hésitent à le signer. C’est désolant. Le Canada, lui, doit garder le cap. Il est écrit noir sur blanc que ce pacte « établit un cadre de coopération juridiquement non contraignant ». C’est avant tout une déclaration d’intention de la communauté internationale pour mieux encadrer ces mouvements de population. Comment peut-on être contre ?

Source: Migrations: un discours pernicieux

The demos against it in Ottawa (Clashes over immigration outside Canada’s Parliament) and Vancouver (VIDEO: Highway overpass protest against United Nations ‘compact’ on immigration) were sparsely attended and Bernier was a no show in Ottawa.

Andrew Coyne: Andrew Scheer steers hard to right on UN migrants pact

Some good contrasting articles from Andrew Coyne and John Ivison on the Conservative opposition to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, with Andrew Coyne’s, in my view, being the stronger.

Campbell Clark also, correctly I think, how the Conservatives are playing this as a wedge issue, similar to M-103 on Islamophobia, and possibly to counter Bernier, who will be attending a rally organized by the far right on Saturday on Parliament Hill:

Starting with Coyne:

Since he became Conservative leader, it has been a matter of speculation: how far would Andrew Scheer go to pander to the populist-nationalist right, specifically on the matter of immigration?

His predecessor had pulled in both directions at once, one minister building bridges to immigrant communities even as another was blowing them up. But candidates who had courted the pop-nats during the leadership race had not attracted many votes. Perhaps their moment had passed.

But then came the influx of asylum seekers crossing our border. After that came Maxime Bernier’s dramatic departure to found his own party, the one-time libertarian wonk rebranded as an immigration skeptic. And the question returned: how far would Scheer go to keep  from being outflanked on the issue?

Well now we have our answer: as far as it takes. Exploiting Liberal discomfort over the border-crossing issue was one thing. But with the Conservative leader’s embrace of far-right fear-mongering over an anodyne UN agreement on immigration, we are deep into the fever swamp. It is disturbing and frankly embarrassing to see.

The document in question is the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Negotiated and drafted over a year and half, the text was agreed to in July by all but one of the UN’s 193 countries, the lone hold-out being the United States. It’s to be formally adopted later this month.

That so many countries saw the necessity for such an agreement is in recognition of the international dimensions of the issue, especially as migration has expanded in recent years. With so many people on the move — some 258 million now live outside their country of birth — there is a pressing need for states to work together. If countries attempt to deal with the pressures of immigration by dumping migrants on each other’s doorsteps, no one’s interests will be served.

Accordingly, the compact sets out a few basic principles to guide states’ actions, with the aim not just of facilitating “safe, orderly and regular migration,” but “reducing the incidence and negative impact of irregular migration.” That’s right: the agreement is as much about reducing immigration as it is facilitating it, specifically by addressing the “structural factors that hinder people from building and maintaining sustainable livelihoods in their countries of origin.”

Among the 23 “objectives” are such not-terribly-shocking ideas as that states should “collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies,” that they should “ensure that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation,” “facilitate mutual recognition of skills, qualifications and competences,” and so on.

Some are admittedly a little more contentious. Maybe not everyone believes states should “provide access to basic services for migrants,” or “establish mechanisms for the portability of social security entitlements.” But here’s the thing. Suppose Canada, or any country, does not live up to these or any other of the agreement’s objectives. What happens then? Answer: nothing. The agreement is entirely and explicitly non-binding, non-enforceable, and non-justiciable.

This point is made at several points in the document. “The Global Compact is a non-legally binding cooperative framework,” it says, whose “authority rests on its consensual nature.” How does it affect national sovereignty? Not at all: “The Global Compact reaffirms the sovereign right of States to determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction in conformity with international law.” It could not be any clearer.

And yet in the months since it was agreed upon, the compact has become one of those bizarre objects of fascination among the conspiracy-minded, in which it has been elevated into a fiendish plot to dictate immigration policies to national governments, if not to eliminate them altogether. As in previous such episodes, what begins on the outer fringes of debate migrates inward: from racist websites to the right-wing press to opportunistic political leaders.

Toronto Sun columnist Candice Malcolm [MALCOLM: The UN Migration Compact – the details are truly worrisome] handily sums up the theory in one breathless sentence: “This dystopian UN plan seeks to erase borders, destroy the concept of citizenship, undermine the rule of law and circumvent state sovereignty.”

It seeks, she claims, “to make immigration a universal human right,” while blurring “the distinction between refugees and migrants.” After all, doesn’t it say right there in the preamble: “Refugees and migrants are entitled to the same universal human rights and fundamental freedoms”?

Yes it does. And in the next sentence says: “However, migrants and refugees are distinct groups governed by separate legal frameworks. Only refugees are entitled to the specific international protection as defined by international refugee law.” The compact is a statement of broad principles, not a body of law.

And yet there was Scheer on Tuesday, claiming the agreement could “open the door to foreign bureaucrats telling Canada how to manage our borders.” The Conservatives, he said “strongly oppose Canada signing” the compact and would “withdraw” Canada from it if elected. To which I suppose the best answer was supplied by Louise Arbour, UN envoy for international migration and former Supreme Court of Canada judge: “There’s nothing to sign. It’s not a treaty.”

Still, Scheer would put us in select company in rejecting the compact: not only Donald Trump, but the right-wing nationalist parties in Europe, such as now govern Hungary, Austria and Poland. I had not thought I would ever see the Conservative Party of Canada among their number, but you learn something new every day.

A final note: on one of the agreement’s objectives, that urging states to “(stop) allocation of public funding or material support to media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants,” the critics have a point. The threat to press freedom is obvious.

But the answer to this concern is not to give public funding to media outlets — on any side — not to pander to hysterical fears about open borders and shadowy world governments.

Source: Andrew Coyne: Andrew Scheer steers hard to right on UN migrants pact

Ivison urging caution:

The late Christopher Hitchens called conspiracy theories the “exhaust fumes of democracy” — the unavoidable result of large amounts of information circulating among a large number of people.

The latest conjectural haze drifting in from the fringes of the political spectrum is that the United Nations’ agreement on migration, which Canada is set to sign in Morocco next week, will see this country lose control of its borders.

The Rebel’s Ezra Levant called the UN’s global compact on migration “dangerous” — “a done deal cooked up by unelected bureaucrats with no regard for national sovereignty.”

Andrew Scheer, the Conservative leader, said his party strongly opposes Justin Trudeau’s plan to sign Canada onto the compact, saying it will open the doors to foreign bureaucrats to direct immigration policy. He was specifically concerned about an objective in the compact that deals with how media report on migration issues. The section calls for an effort to eliminate “all forms of discrimination” in public discourse about migration issues — which, if enforceable, would be an existential threat to The Rebel.

After question period on Wednesday, Scheer asked for unanimous consent for a statement that urged the government not to sign the compact and which blamed the UN for the torrent of refugees that has crossed into Canada from the U.S. Not surprisingly, he did not get it.

For now at least, Scheer’s fears are overdone. The potential limitations on media reporting, for example, are not enforceable. Chris Alexander, a former Conservative immigration minister, pointed out that the compact is a political declaration, not a legally binding treaty. “It has no impact on our sovereignty,” he wrote on Twitter.

Trudeau made the same point on Wednesday, as he boasted about Canada’s “global leadership” and its adoption of “open policy.”

It’s hard to find anything particularly offensive in the compact — it says refugees and migrants are entitled to universal human rights; that countries should improve co-operation on international migration to save lives and keep migrants out of harm’s way. It is explicit that it is not legally binding and the sovereign rights of states to determine their own migration policy is re-affirmed.

Still, I remain unconvinced that Canada should sign on. The compact also says that states should “determine their legislative and policy measures for the implementation of the global compact.” The very act of signing creates an expectation that the signatories will take action. It’s not nothing.

We have heard in the past about UN declarations being merely “aspirational.” As it turned out, they have become much more than that.

Take the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was also sold as a non-binding, aspirational document.

When it was introduced in 2006, the Harper government opposed the declaration’s 46 articles, on the practical grounds that previous court decisions had referenced the work of UN bodies and used them to interpret the laws of Canada. One article in the draft version could have been interpreted to mean military activities could not take place on land that had traditionally been Aboriginal.

The late Jim Prentice, who was then Indian Affairs minister, said the declaration was inconsistent with Canadian law and refused to sign. The declaration only received the Canadian government’s unqualified support in 2016 under the Trudeau government. The new prime minister had already agreed to “fully adopt and implement” the UN declaration, even though his justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, called it “unworkable” and a “political distraction.”

Whatever your views on the declaration, it is beyond dispute that it is not merely an “aspirational document.”

In fact, it is now the law, after NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s private members’ bill was passed by the House of Commons last May. The bill required that Canada’s laws be consistent with the declaration.

In the coming months and years, legislation and judicial interpretation will determine whether Canada’s existing jurisprudence on the duty to consult is sufficient to meet the UN declaration’s requirement on the need to secure “free, prior and informed consent” in any given area of policy. Critics argue that the passage into law of the declaration gives Indigenous Canadians rights not enjoyed by other Canadians.

What was presented as a nice thing to do to be onside with a global consensus has now evolved into a situation that could yet result in legislative gridlock, if the declaration’s provisions on the “rights of self-determination” are taken at face value.

The global compact’s intentions may be pure, but there will be consequences to its adoption that could over time impact Canada’s ability to set its own course on migration.

It won’t erase the border but it could erode sovereignty on immigration. You don’t have to inhale the exhaust fumes of the online conspiracy theories to believe that signing the UN global compact on migration is not a great idea.

Source: John Ivison: The UN’s global pact on migration sounds nice — but don’t sign it

Lastly, Campbell Clark on the politics and similarity with M-103 tactics:

The Global Compact for Migration is the new motion M-103, held up by anti-immigration right-wingers as a scary monster that is going to radically change Canada even though it won’t do much of anything at all.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer stepped out on Tuesday to warn, wrongly, that the Global Compact, a document negotiated by many countries under UN auspices, would force Canada to cede its sovereignty and cede influence to shadowy “foreign entities.”

In fact, the Global Compact – which aims to promote international co-operation on migration flows – is a vague, non-binding document full of long-winded, gobbledygook claptrap that includes a few worthy principles and a couple of dumb ideas. But it won’t force anyone to do anything.

So if Mr. Scheer had opposed the signing of Global Compact on the grounds that Canada shouldn’t put its name to long tracts of big words that don’t have any clear meaning just to make people feel good, he would have deserved a nod of respect.

But the warning the Global Compact will put Canada’s sovereignty in imminent danger is fantasy.

This is the kind of fabricated freak-out we saw in 2017 with M-103, a Liberal MP’s motion asking the Commons to condemn Islamophobia. The motion sparked conspiracy theories – fuelled by the online site the Rebel – that it would restrict free speech, provide “special privileges” to Muslims or somehow lead to sharia law.

It was bunk, because such parliamentary motions don’t lead to anything other than a study. The motion passed, a parliamentary committee issued a bland report last February – and sharia law was not imposed.

Now, the same angst machine is working on the Global Compact for Migration. The Rebel argues it is dangerous, Maxime Bernier, Leader of fledgling right-wing People’s Party, complained about it on Tuesday morning. Then Mr. Scheer followed.

The thing is, the Global Compact is a mess of muddle verbiage, but it is not going to cede immigration policy to the UN or anyone else.

“There is no duty on Canada to implement, enact or enforce anything,” said James Hathaway, a Canadian who is director of the University of Michigan’s program in refugee and asylum law. The compact not only explicitly says it is non-binding, it is also not a treaty, Prof. Hathaway noted. It signs up countries for a discussion process. “No government has to do anything here other than show up for meetings.”

Of course, it’s reasonable to ask whether there’s much real point to the 16,600 words of bureaucratic blah-blah. It is supposed to encourage things such as sharing data on migration. The signatories say they hope to “minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin” – you know, like poverty – but there are no firm commitments.

Some of the criticisms seem to be based on a misreading of the document itself. The Rebel’s Ezra Levant decided that approving references to “regular migration” meant that the compact aims to make mass migration normal and permanent. But regular migration refers to orderly flows of migrants through official border crossings and legal methods – as opposed to irregular migrants. Mr. Bernier echoed Mr. Levant’s words.

One commentator argued that the compact muddies the divide between refugees and migrants, but as Prof. Hathaway noted, it explicitly separates the two. Another commentator alleged it establishes new human rights for migrants, but it doesn’t.

There are flaws: circuitous language and dumb stuff. There’s a section on “promoting independent, objective, and quality reporting” on migration, including cutting off public funds to media outlets that “promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants.” Canada certainly shouldn’t want state re-education of the media to be an accepted notion in such documents.

It is worth asking whether this loose collection of words is worthwhile.

Chris Alexander, the former Conservative immigration minister, who tweeted that Mr. Scheer’s warnings were factually incorrect, also opined that there is nothing wrong in setting out some principles for dealing with migration. Prof. Hathaway said there were some ideas in it that made it “a little bit better than nothing.”

Mr. Scheer has every right to think it’s worse – full of misguided notions. But no, next week’s signing won’t give the UN control over Canada’s borders.

Source:     To right-wingers,the Global Compact for Migration motion is a sign the sky is falling again Campbell Clark December 5, 2018     

Ex-Harper immigration minister calls out Scheer over ‘factually incorrect’ statements on UN migration pact

Yes another pleasant surprise. And funny how the CPC seems to be using more and more anti-UN language on migration (see Immigration critic Michelle Rempel’s earlier Conservative immigration critique of the levels plan where she singled out UNHCR role in selecting refugees):
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is being called out by a former immigration minister in Stephen Harper’s government for factual inaccuracies in a public statement Scheer made Tuesday in which he called on the Liberals to reject a UN agreement on migration.

Speaking in the foyer of the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon, Scheer said his party strongly opposes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “plan to sign Canada on to the UN Global Compact on Migration.”

Scheer said that by signing the compact, Canada would open the door to foreign bureaucrats directing its immigration policy.

“It gives influence over Canada’s immigration system to foreign entities. It attempts to influence how our free and independent media report on immigration issues and it could open the door to foreign bureaucrats telling Canada how to manage our borders,” Scheer said.

“Canadians, and Canadians alone, should make decisions on who comes in our country and under what circumstances.”

Chris Alexander, who once held the post of immigration minister under Harper, pushed back against Scheer’s claim on social media.

“Scheer’s statement is factually incorrect: This Compact is a political declaration, not a legally binding treaty. It has no impact on our sovereignty,” he wrote on Twitter.

According to the text of the agreement, the compact is not a treaty but an agreement charting out how countries around the world can work together to mitigate the impact and stresses of increased global migration.

“The Global Compact is a non-legally binding cooperative framework that recognizes that no state can address migration on its own due to the inherently transnational nature of the phenomenon,” the compact says.

The document goes on to say in the very next section that it “reaffirms the sovereign right of states to determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction in conformity with international law.”

The part of the agreement that deals with how the media report on migration issues is referred to under objective 17 of the compact.

That section calls for an effort to eliminate “all forms of discrimination” in public discourse about migration issues.

The compact calls for the promotion of independent, objective reporting on the issue through the passage of anti-hate speech legislation and the withdrawal of public funding from media organizations that promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination against migrants.

The agreement notes that any actions should always be “in full respect for the freedom of the media.”

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen will sign the agreement on Canada’s behalf next week in Marrakech, Morocco.

“We are proud of the leadership role that our government has played to bring countries together to collaborate in order to protect our robust immigration system,” Hussen’s press secretary, Mathieu Genest, told CBC News in an email.

“We recognize that Canada is not alone in facing these issues and believe that a compact to promote safe, orderly and regular migration is an important step in the right direction.”

“Today’s press conference demonstrated to which lengths the Conservatives are willing to go to win over supporters of the Peoples Party of Canada,” he added, referencing break-away former Conservative Maxime Bernier’s new political party.

Source: Ex-Harper immigration minister calls out Scheer over ‘factually incorrect’ statements on UN migration pact

FATAH: Sealing western prosperity in a Ziploc bag won’t work

Every now and then, Tarek Fatah pleasantly surprises me:

Next Monday on December 10, delegates from countries around the globe will converge in Marrakesh, Morocco, to sign the ‘Global Compact on Migration,’ a non-binding United Nations agreement on a common approach to international migration.

Based on the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was first drafted in 1948 by the Canadian jurist John Humphreys, the Global Compact on Migration has drawn unwarranted hostility bordering xenophobia, thanks to Marcel de Graaff, a right-wing politician belonging to Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands.

Despite the fact that the UN General Assembly — which created the ‘Compact’ —  says unambiguously that the document is “a non-legally binding, cooperative framework” and “upholds the sovereignty of States and their obligations under international law,” de Graffe declared at a press conference on October 23:

“The agreement wants to criminalize migration speech. Criticism of migration will become a criminal offense. Media outlets that give room to criticism of migration can be shut down.”

This was a complete fabrication and had no basis in facts, yet de Graaff’s statement and video clip went viral with hysterical anti-immigrant ‘sky is falling’ alarmists barely sounding different than their great-grandparents who lined the shores of Vancouver in 1914 to vent hatred towards what one newspaper described as “Howling masses of Hindus.”

Not content with his alarmist fabrication, de Graffe added fuel to the fire by declaring: “In fact, it will become impossible to criticize Merkel’s welcome migrants’ politics without being jailed for hate speech.”

I read the entire 34-page document that will be signed in Marrakech next week and could not find a shred of evidence that would back the claims made by de Graffe, which have now been shared by a number of Western newspaper columnists.

The UK Express led with the headline, “Criticising migration could become CRIMINAL offence under new plan” while a column in this newspaper was headlined, “The UN migration compact spells radical change for Canada.”

Nonsense. The Migration Compact merely asks Governments to “Promote independent, objective and quality reporting of media outlets …  investing in ethical reporting standards and advertising, and stopping allocation of public funding or material support to media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants, in full respect for the freedom of the media.”

Of course, we should have concerns about fake refugees arriving from the United States into Canada as Brian Lilley has highlighted, but that is because of the incompetence of the Trudeau government, not the fault of Hondurans or Guatemalans living in cages on the U.S-Mexican border or sub-Sharan Black Africans left to die in the Algerian desert.

So far Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland have stated they will not sign the non-binding agreement, but it is not in these countries where the refugee and migrant crisis plays out.

A 40-second clip of children being trafficked in a sealed water tanker on the border of Iran and Balochistan shocked the world last week. Asia Bibi rots in a Third World jail, not in Britain and it is not Canada that is playing host to 10,000 Pakistani Christians abandoned in Thailand.

If refugees and mass migration resulting from wars and genocides in Africa, Asia and Latin America bother de Graffe and his minions in Europe and North America, then trust me, the Marrakech meeting is the first step towards a solution.

One cannot seal the West in a Ziploc bag to lock in our prosperity. Sooner or later the hungry will break open the padlock on the refrigerator.

Source: FATAH: Sealing western prosperity in a Ziploc bag won’t work