What Justin Trudeau had to say at the NATO summit (immigration and diversity)

Not new, but again belies those who believe that he does not believe Canada has an identity:

At a moderated discussion held on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fielded questions on a wide range of issues related to Canada’s membership in the defence alliance—from the level of Canadian military spending, to how the European Union complements NATO, to his expectation of future migrations of people fleeing hardship.

On immigration and diversity as a foundation of Canadian foreign policy.

Trudeau: “We have learned from people who come to Canada [from] everywhere around the world, whether it’s Afghan refugees, whether it’s Syrian refugees recently, or whether it’s some of the previous generations of people fleeing from Uganda in the Idi Amin years, the boat people from Vietnam, or the wave of migrations we got in the post-World War II years from Europe, we understand tangibly how things could be worse and where things have been bad around the world.

And being able to remember that, or reflect on how we can do better, how we can create a society that is based around values and not identity, based around principles and rights, and opportunity, real and fair chances for everyone to succeed— those kinds of principles, I think, are going to be extraordinarily important in the 21st century as we get flows of migrations of people looking for better lives, people fleeing resource depletion, environmental calamities and conflicts.”

Source: What Justin Trudeau had to say at the NATO summit

Martin Regg Cohn: Canadians should beware Premier Doug Ford using ‘illegal’ refugee claimants as a wedge to drive us apart

Agree that wedge politics being played here, arguably by both sides, with the more corrosive discourse and approach by Ford. One thing to argue over funding – yes, the federal government is largely on the hook – but another to refuse participation in all three level of government coordination and cooperation:

One week in power, and Doug Ford’s government has declared war against Justin Trudeau.

By taking aim at asylum claimants who cross into Canada.

That was fast. Don’t shed a tear for the prime minister, who can presumably take care of himself — whether rebuffing a Ford missive or repelling a Donald Trump tirade.

But ask yourself what happens to the inevitable casualties of this conflict between Queen’s Park and Ottawa:

No, not just the people crossing the border to claim refugee status. Think about the rest of us, and what this does to us — the way we treat border crossers, and the way we treat each other.

This will test all of us, not just Ontario’s new premier and his federal counterpart.

The rise in migrants slipping across the border has already challenged our border security and police officers, who have comported themselves with Canadian decency and dignity. It is testing our refugee determination system, which (lest we forget) is burdened and bound by due process.

Now, the border-crossing story that landed in Quebec a year ago, and then crossed over into eastern Ontario, has landed hard on Toronto’s doorstep. Just in time for Ford’s new Progressive Conservative team to seize on it as a wedge issue that drives people apart.

Beware the wedge that exploits refugee claimants — for while many may indeed be economic migrants gaming the system, a good number might well be legitimate victims of persecution seeking sanctuary. You never know, until you know for sure (see: due process).

Yet Ford’s government is wagging its finger at “illegal border crossers” in official statements that misstate reality and incite hostility. It is an axiom of international law that desperate refugee claimants often cross borders by hook or by crook, but that doesn’t make them criminals (it’s precisely how both my parents escaped post-war Communist Europe).

Ontario’s new minister of children and social services, Lisa MacLeod, points an accusing finger at Trudeau for supposedly triggering a mass migration when he “tweeted out that everyone was welcome here, and as a result of that, we’ve had thousands of people cross the border illegally.”

Was this truly the tweet that launched a thousand ships? Or dispatched thousands of taxis to our border, there to disgorge their human cargo on our doorstep as per the PM’s precise GPS directions?

Were it so simple, Trudeau need only delete the troubling tweet. But he never offered directions to those unauthorized border pathways, nor invitations to cross over at leisure.

Yes, Trudeau and countless Canadians took turns humble-bragging and boasting about our supposed virtue in welcoming Syrian refugees after Stephen Harper’s Conservatives behaved churlishly and Barack Obama’s America acted ungenerously. But to draw a direct line between a Trudeau tweet and an imagined human stampede to the border is to elevate the prime minister’s Twitter feed to Trumpian influence.

Let’s be clear here. The migrant movement that began last summer emanated not from any misplaced magnanimity by the PM, but from fear of a looming Trump clampdown on Haitians still enjoying sanctuary in the U.S. after a 2010 earthquake.

It bears repeating that Canada had previously ended that sanctuary status — yes, faster than the Americans — and was systematically deporting Haitians who were here back to their homeland. Oblivious to that fact, thousands of Haitians crossed over into Canada, making up 85 per cent of migrants at the outset.

Under an existing bilateral agreement, the U.S. automatically takes back any refugee claimants who show up at our side of official border crossings. But by slipping over out of sight of those official crossings, migrants exploited a loophole by which the Americans wouldn’t take them back.

Since then, there has been a long and awkward debate about what to do to avoid turning a trickle into a tide.

Federal Conservatives have suggested we declare the entire border one big crossing — as if this would force the Americans to take back their asylum claimants. But Trudeau can no more demand that Trump do as we say on refugees than he can insist that the president undo the tariffs he slapped on our steel and aluminum.

Shall we stand our ground and instruct our police to point guns and draw bayonets at asylum-seekers to keep them on the American side? Or heave them back across the border, throwing their bags after them? Do we build a Trump-style wall across our undefended border and demand Mexico pay for it?

Not really so easy, except in the virtual reality of Twitter.

It’s perfectly fair for the provincial and municipal governments to demand that Ottawa come up with the money and plans to deal with the pressure points in local facilities — in Ontario as in Quebec. To his credit, Mayor John Tory has been pressing the case for Toronto’s needs without turning people against migrants in need.

Ford’s government could learn from the mayor’s approach, instead of delegitimizing asylum-seekers as illegal, and demonizing Ottawa for following a legal framework. On Thursday, when Trudeau met him at Queen’s Park, a statement from the premier’s office declared, provocatively:

“This mess was 100 per cent the result of the federal government.”

In truth, there are no easy answers, just the certainty that public support can easily be turned against asylum-claimants if politicians want to press those buttons (see: Europe and America). All the more reason for all levels of government to start working together, rather than driving people apart.

Source: Martin Regg Cohn: Canadians should beware Premier Doug Ford using ‘illegal’ refugee claimants as a wedge to drive us apart

Contrasting opinions on whether Trudeau should condemn Trump separation of children policy (in end, he did)

David Moscrop arguing he should:

…In his 1961 inaugural address, John F. Kennedy warned, in a different context, that “those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger, ended up inside.” More than 50 years later, here is Canada—beacon of hope, moral exemplar to the world, shiny liberal Valhalla—mounted squarely on the raging cat, trying to manage a relationship with an addled and unpredictable authoritarian south of the border while human rights abuses occur right in front of our faces.

There are countless grim moments throughout human history that we subject our after-the-fact moral certainty and judgment upon today, adding for good measure that “We would never have let that happen.” We’re better than our barbarous forebears, naturally. We’ve learned our lessons. We’re cosmopolitan. Forward-thinking. Smarter. Kinder. Better.

And yet today, we are silently staring down a morally outrageous and unacceptable policy, hedging toward protecting our “interests” on the backs of helpless children and their terrified families while the American president echoes poet W.H. Auden’s Epitaph on a Tyrant: “When he laughed, respected senators burst with laughter/And when he cried the little children died in the streets.”

Like it or not, we’re living history right now. We’re in the midst of a moment that future generations will look back and judge us on, scrutinizing what we did or didn’t do at the pivotal moment when our moral mettle was put to the test. If we fail to do the right thing—to call out abuses, to demand better, to require decency as a basic term of doing business—then we will rightly be condemned just as we condemn our own antecedents for their failures.

There’s still time for Canada to do the right thing. There’s still time for us to criticize human rights abuses abroad and then to turn our gaze back on ourselves and our shortcomings at home. Today, standing up for human rights is not only the right thing to do, but the necessary thing to do if we wish for a future in which a stable, just, and inclusive democracy is possible.

Source: Trudeau won’t condemn Trump’s migrant policy. That’s duplicitous and irresponsible.

L. Ian MacDonald argues the reverse (more persuasive in my view):

…From a Canadian perspective, the U.S. illegal migrant crisis offers an opportunity to assess where we have come since Trudeau posted his famous #“WelcomeToCanada” tweet in January 2017, on the heels of Trump’s order banning travel from seven majority-Islamic countries, including Syria, from which Canada had recently welcomed 25,000 refugees.

It can take over a year for asylum claims to be ruled upon by Ottawa. And admission is by no means a given. Of the 20,000 people who entered Canada illegally last year, 8,200 has since been deported, more than half of them involuntarily, with the government footing the bill for their flights home.

Another 30,000 asylum claimants crossed the border at regular points of entry, though under the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S., most of them were apparently sent back.

The question some are asking is whether the U.S., under Trump, is still a safe third country. But don’t expect Trudeau to make such a case. He’s got quite enough to do with the NAFTA renegotiation, without trying to score political points on the U.S. border migrant crisis.

Source: Trudeau wisely chooses high road in Trump’s immigration debacle

 

Trudeau tweet caused influx of refugee inquiries, confusion within government, emails reveal

Not surprising. I can only imagine the internal conversations.

Of course, compared to Trump tweets, contradictions and reversals … (not intended as a benchmark):

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used Twitter to welcome refugees to Canada last winter, it prompted a spike in inquiries from would-be refugees to Canadian embassies abroad, and resulted in confusion within the federal government, newly released emails reveal.

“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” Trudeau said on Twitter Jan. 28, 2017, the day after Trump put out an executive order banning refugees and visitors from Muslim-majority countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

It was widely seen as a comment on Trump’s policy. To date the message has been retweeted over 400,000 times and liked more than 750,000 times. International commentators wondered whether Canada was announcing it would take in all those banned from entering the U.S. Some Canadian officials wondered about that too, according to records the National Post obtained through an access-to-information request.

Noting that Trudeau’s message had been picked up by the New York Times, an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada official anticipated in an email to colleagues, the same evening as the tweet, that “there will be more pressure” to respond the following day.

Two days later, officials stickhandling media requests were worrying about overloading spokespeople. “I’m sorry, I’m trying to figure out how not to max you out,” one said in an email.

In addition to requests from media there were queries from Canada’s own officials posted abroad. Concerns from the embassy in Mexico appear in an email chain with the subject line “Guidance required on how to respond to increasing number of refugee enquiries in the region following change in US administration and Prime Minister’s tweet.”

The first secretary and “risk assessment officer” at the embassy, whose name is redacted, sent an initial message on Feb. 1, 2017, four days after the tweet.

“I am seeking official guidance/response from Ottawa on how to address refugee enquiries following all the publicity around the US ban on some nationalities, and our Prime Minister’s tweet on welcoming refugees,” the email began.

“We are receiving an increasing number of enquiries from the public about requesting refugee status in Canada, and a number clearly having links with our Prime Minister’s tweet this weekend. A significant number of the enquiries received since the weekend have been from nationals of the ‘US banned countries’, but we are also receiving them from all nationalities, both through emails and directly at our reception.”

The first secretary went on to say that some of the requests had come from Cuban nationals, and that the mission in Costa Rica had been in touch to express concerns about inquiries being received there, too.

“In the current situation, other missions in our area of responsibilities are probably seeing the same thing happening and I think we need to liaise with them and provide formal guidance on how to address these enquiries given the Prime Minister’s tweet,” the official wrote. “A number of clients are asking if it is true that Canada will accept the refugees the US are rejecting, and what is the process to do so. … I would imagine that missions all around the world are seeing these enquiries increasing since the weekend.”

Much of the ensuing conversation — shared with nine Global Affairs Canada email accounts, another six from IRCC and a few that are blanked out — is redacted.

But it shows immigration officials responding with lengthy messages containing response lines developed to clarify Canada’s intentions after the tweet.

An IRCC official told diplomats on Feb. 2 that the lines, approved by the Privy Council Office, were also being shared with officials at the Canada Border Services Agency. The suggested response started with: “We are working with the United Nations Refugee Agency, U.S. officials and our missions abroad to clarify the current situation and determine what our next steps might be.”

Trudeau ultimately stood by the message in his tweet but began adding, during public appearances, that “there are steps to go through” to be considered a refugee. Canada did not change the number of refugees it would accept through resettlement programs. But Conservative politicians would go on to blame the tweet for encouraging an uptick in irregular crossings by asylum seekers at the Canada-U.S. border, particularly in Manitoba and Quebec.

Trump’s travel ban was met with widespread protest and challenged in court. After parts of the executive order were struck down, Trump twice reissued altered versions, both of which include the same list of countries minus Iraq. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of the latest iteration, issued in September, by June.

Source: Trudeau tweet caused influx of refugee inquiries, confusion within government, emails reveal

Trudeau with his Indian culture overkill came across as patronizing | Shree Paradkar

It seems like everyone is piling on the gaffe-strewn trip of PM Trudeau to India. Paradkar’s is one of the best:

If apparel oft proclaims the man, then Polonius who uttered those words in Hamlet would have quite literally given our prime minister a dressing down this week. From the viewpoint of the Shakespearean character, Justin Trudeau would have broken the basic rules: his clothes were as costly as money could buy, but gaudy, too, proclaiming him unserious.

A charitable supposition would be that maybe — just maybe — since Canada is barely a blip on Indian consciousness, Trudeau decided to lean on his celebrity status to make an impression.

That much he did. So groan-inducing has Trudeau’s visit to India appeared thus far that it merits being rated as a cliched Bollywood drama.Over-the-top sherwanis and kurta pyjamas, Bhangra sequences, overly choreographed family time overdoing the namastes.

Then a touch of villainous melodrama in the form of a mistaken invitation to Jaspal Atwal, a man convicted of attempting to kill an Indian cabinet minister on Vancouver Island in 1986. Atwal was also charged, but not convicted, in connection with a 1985 attack on Ujjal Dosanjh, a former Liberal health minister and former premier of British Columbia.

That faux pas for which the Liberals apologized would be a terrible development during any official visit. On this one, it gave lie to Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s appeasement of the Punjab chief minister’s concerns of official Canadian support for the Sikh separatist movement.

The demand for a separate nation of Khalistan is an issue that has little support among Sikhs in India. It does not enjoy unanimous support here, either.

The concerns were fair: Trudeau’s appearance at a Sikh parade in Toronto last year with yellow and blue Khalistan flags in the background and posters of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale — the leader of the Khalistani movement — was not looked upon kindly in India.

Nor would Canada be sympathetic to a visiting foreign leader who posed with Quebec separatists.

Many of the poor first impressions would have been avoided had planners simply switched Day 6 to Day 1. Trudeau, finally wearing a business suit, met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, got that equally cringe-inducing, but in this case gratefully received, trademark bear hug from Modi, and was received with state honours.

Was there really no adviser in our PMO or the Foreign Office who said before the trip, “Meet Modi first. Go easy on the clothes. Wrap up the visit in 3 days. Be prepared to deal with the separatist issue”?

Earlier in the month, an expert told Global News, “There’s no question that the whole Khalistan question will overshadow this trip.”

Then an unnamed government official told the news outlet it was not expected to be a big issue.

If he had a chance to counsel Trudeau, Omer Aziz, a former adviser at the Department of Global Affairs in the Liberal government, says he would have said, “It’s going to come up and you need to make sure you know what you’re going to say.”

Before going to India, Aziz would have suggested Trudeau make a speech in support of united India and draw comparisons to separatist movements here.

Trudeau’s trip was billed as one to bolster economic and cultural connections. Because Canada’s minorities of colour are consigned to hyphenated labels, and never viewed as simply Canadian, Canadian leaders end up viewing foreign policy through the lens of diasporic politics.

And so, Indo-Canadians and Sikh-Canadians have come to expect images of a leader’s visit to New Delhi, the requisite visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, perhaps a Hindu temple or two.

But carry it too far and the symbolism of “we care” can become tiresomely reductive.

Religious and cultural observances such as a cloth on the head may be seen as a sign of respect. Wearing clothing from the host nation could be seen as a bit of charming politicking on the sidelines of trade deals and policy development.

As a main dish, overshadowing a $1 billion trade deal, it’s unpalatable. Neither Indians nor Indo-Canadians are quite so unsophisticated as to not detect being patronized.

Aziz sees this trip as evidence that governments should hire and empower more staffers of colour who understand the complexities of the world. “Literally all this was avoidable,” he said.

For all the talk of Trudeau’s diverse cabinet, behind the scenes decision makers, staffers and bureaucrats remain monochromatic.

“I think that frankly minorities, brown folks, people of colour should say this is enough,” says Aziz. “It’s time that millennials (like me) said either you’re going to share power with us or we’re going to mobilize and you’re going to suffer at the ballot box.

“We’re not going to be treated as any one’s vote bank.

“We don’t need you talking down to us. We don’t need you to begin every single speech saying diversity is our strength. What we need is at that beginning point of our conversation we need to be treated as equals, with respect. Then we can have a conversation about policy.”

via Trudeau with his Indian culture overkill came across as patronizing | Toronto Star

Marketed Multiculturalism Makes Canada A Hostile Homeland: Sarah Beech

Some valid points but a bit over the top in words and rhetoric, and too general with few concrete and implementable suggestions:

On January 30, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Government of Canada will officially recognize the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, which began in 2015 and runs until 2024. The objective of this recognition period is to highlight and celebrate the contributions people of African descent have made to Canada. But, what does that actually mean for black Canadians?

According to Trudeau, “This means learning more about the issues that affect black Canadians, including improving research and data collection, so we can better understand the particular challenges they face.”

In some respects, additional data is needed, but the collecting of more data will not necessarily produce new ways of thinking about historic problems, like anti-black racism.

Overall, Trudeau’s remarks were lackluster, peppered with symbolism to validate Canada’s selected brand of nationalism without explicitly delineating a strategic plan or any course of concrete action. I do not expect that he or his government would have been able to release a 10-point plan, but to make an address without any definitive next steps is futile in the fight against anti-black racism. His speech, the topic and the timing (two days before Black History Month, and three years late,) appear contrived and symptomatic of marketed multiculturalism.

Marketed multiculturalism occurs when racial and cultural diversity are used by social, political and economic discourses to validate state sponsored messages, amplified by news media, that Canada is a post-racial multicultural society. This marketed myth preserves the status quo, tokenizes racialized people and obfuscates the existence of racism and anti-black racism in this nation.

Within the marketed multicultural framework, when an acknowledgement of racism is made by institutions responsible for the systemic oppression of racialized people, the surreptitious ways in which racism operates become more nuanced. The prime minister’s announcement was a representation of this phenomenon. The particulars of his speech reinforced multiculturalism in Canada more than they declared a commitment to combatting anti-black racism. While the two are not mutually exclusive, in order for either to be fully realized the commitment has to be more than just promised.

For multiculturalism to be legitimately realized in Canada, the policy needs to go beyond the page. Acknowledgements need to be met with action. Cultural inclusion, equity and other principles upon which authentic multicultural ideology is premised must not conflate performance with progress. The absence of this distinction makes Canada a hostile homeland for black Canadians, Indigenous people, racialized immigrants and other people of colour.

As politicians make (more) policy, they both have a propensity to succumb to the effects of marketed multiculturalism, where acknowledgement and accountability are systemically destined to never meet within the status quo. While accountability is not impossible, it does require all Canadians to interrupt the political performance, forgo the politeness and promote political progress for racialized people in Canada.

via Marketed Multiculturalism Makes Canada A Hostile Homeland

L’ancien chef de La Meute réplique aux propos de Trudeau | Le Devoir

Hard to know what is the best strategy: call them out and risk giving them more oxygen or ignoring them in the hope that their messages will be less heard.

But in general, whether calling people “deplorables” or “nonos” is likely unproductive; better to call out and contest their statements then label people:

Les propos tenus lundi soir à Québec par Justin Trudeau font tiquer La Meute. Le premier ministre, qui a traité les membres du groupe nationaliste identitaire de « nonos », a été copieusement insulté par l’un des adhérents de premier plan de l’organisation, mardi.

Le premier ministre n’a pas manifesté de regret d’avoir déclenché l’escalade verbale qui se lit dans un message publié sur la page Facebook publique du regroupement par Sylvain « Maïkan » Brouillette, qui taxe Justin Trudeau — sans le nommer — de « trou de cul ».

Le membre du groupe aux positions proches de l’extrême droite a affublé le chef libéral de cette épithète sous prétexte qu’il « a fait des associations et des amalgames révoltants » entre La Meute et le drame de la mosquée de Québec survenu le 29 janvier 2017.

Dans le discours qu’il a livré dans la Vieille Capitale lors de la cérémonie de commémoration de l’attentat qui a fait six victimes, Justin Trudeau a pesté contre les « racistes », ces « nonos qui se promènent avec les pattes de chiens sur le t-shirt ».

C’est ce qui lui a valu la réplique de Sylvain « Maïkan » Brouillette — qui, selon ce que rapportait Vice News en décembre dernier, a abandonné son poste de chef de bande pour redevenir simple membre de La Meute. Il a été impossible de déterminer quelle est sa position hiérarchique actuelle.

« Un nono c’est quelqu’un qui voit une patte de chien au lieu de voir l’emblème du Québec surmonté de ses valeurs de démocratie, de làïcité (sic), de liberté et d’égalité », écrit-il dans sa tirade coiffée du titre « C’est quoi un nono ? ».

« Celui qui fait des associations et des amalgames révoltants entre la Meute et le drame de la grande mosquée de Québec est non seulement un nono, mais un trou de cul », peut-on lire sur la page Facebook qui compte près de 17 000 abonnés.

L’auteur du message soutient également qu’« un nono ce n’est pas quelqu’un qui s’affirme pour défendre ses valeurs », mais bien « quelqu’un qui acceuille (sic) en héro (sic) dans son bureau un criminel comme Joshua Boyle ».

Il fait référence à l’audience qu’a accordée Justin Trudeau dans son bureau du parlement à l’ancien otage des talibans en Afghanistan qui a été rapatrié au Canada en octobre dernier, et qui est depuis sous le coup de multiples accusations criminelles.

Il réserve aussi dans cette publication quelques mots à l’intention de Philippe Couillard. Sans le nommer, il accuse le premier ministre du Québec d’être un « nono » — dans son cas, pour avoir comparé « la colonisation du Canada avec l’immigration moderne ».

Dans son allocution devant la foule réunie pour souligner le premier anniversaire de la tragédie, le premier ministre québécois s’est demandé pourquoi certains citoyens se sentaient plus Québécois que d’autres alors que leurs ancêtres sont aussi des immigrants.

« On est tous venus d’ailleurs rejoindre les Premières Nations, il n’y a que la date qui change. Et cette date ne détermine pas notre niveau de citoyenneté », a fait valoir Philippe Couillard, lundi soir, à Québec.

Trudeau ne regrette pas

Du côté d’Ottawa, Justin Trudeau n’a exprimé mardi aucun regret d’avoir eu recours au terme « nonos ». En marge d’une annonce, il a au contraire promis qu’il serait « toujours là pour dénoncer ceux qui ne sont pas en train de bâtir une société meilleure et plus ouverte à tous ».

Il a argué qu’il y avait « encore des gens intolérants à l’intérieur de notre société », et qu’il en allait de sa « responsabilité » comme premier ministre de « dire clairement quand des propos sont haineux, quand des déclarations ou des gestes sont inacceptables dans cette société ».

Le député conservateur Pierre Paul-Hus ne partage pas cette lecture ; selon lui, de tels propos sont indignes de la fonction qu’occupe Justin Trudeau. « Traiter ces gens-là de nonos, je trouve que ce n’est pas des mots qui devraient sortir de la bouche d’un premier ministre », a-t-il dit.

via L’ancien chef de La Meute réplique aux propos de Trudeau | Le Devoir

Trump’s ‘s—hole countries’ remark casts remarkable light on immigration policies: Shree Paradkar

Implications of Paradkar’s arguments is that essentially we should have a completely open door rather than managed immigration programs.

And rather than only commentary, some numbers with respect to the Haitians in Canada who were obliged to leave after the 2014 change, versus regularizing their status, would be helpful:

However, the outrage also reveals a society more eager to be scandalized by the President’s words than upset by government actions that harm those same lives for whom they are purporting to demand respect.

Trump’s words on Haiti are particularly galling, given what its citizens have endured and American and Canadian modern roles in undermining that nation’s democracy.

Trump pulled the plug on a humanitarian program that allowed some 60,000 Haitians to remain in the U.S. under special immigration status while their homeland recovered from devastating disasters.

Canada cancelled its own program of giving Haitians special status and began asking Haitians to pack their bags in 2014 under Stephen Harper. That cancellation was completed in 2016, under Justin Trudeau with little fanfare.

Yet, Trudeau is the good guy of the global immigration crisis. Remember that viral tweet that was so celebrated after Trump moved to ban immigrants from Muslim-majority countries? “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada”

Last year, poor Haitians who took Canadian goodness seriously, trying to cross unguarded points from the U.S. into Canada had the lowest acceptance rate — at 17 per cent — for asylum claimants between February and October.

Individual Canadians have been generous after the Haitian earthquake. More recently, Montrealers have been moved to help Haitian asylum seekers.

Still, the overall lack of indignation over the continued rejection of Haitians suggests a Canadian comfort with discriminatory attitudes so long as they’re not overt, Trump style.

via Trump’s ‘s—hole countries’ remark casts remarkable light on immigration policies | Toronto Star

Indigenous advocates slam Trudeau for comments about Patrick Brazeau

Ironic that the most balanced reaction to the PM’s comments appears to come  from Brazeau, not the activists. Brazeau had built up his personal narrative along the lines the PM stated and was a controversial figure to many Indigenous activists and others:

Indigenous advocates are denouncing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent comments about Senator Patrick Brazeau in Rolling Stone magazine, saying his remarks could damage the Liberal government’s relationship with aboriginal people.

In the U.S. magazine’s August cover story, which asks “Why Can’t He Be Our President?,” Mr. Trudeau describes his surprise victory in a 2012 charity boxing match against Mr. Brazeau, a former Conservative who hails from the Kitigan Zibi First Nation in Quebec.

“I wanted someone who would be a good foil, and we stumbled upon the scrappy tough-guy senator from an Indigenous community. He fit the bill, and it was a very nice counterpoint,” Mr. Trudeau says in the article. “I saw it as the right kind of narrative, the right story to tell.”

First Nations leaders say the Prime Minister’s remarks about Mr. Brazeau fly in the face of his government’s commitment to a renewed relationship with Indigenous people.

“I was actually shocked to read that coming from someone who’s been speaking about reconciliation and repairing relationships,” said Pam Palmater, an associate professor and chair in Indigenous governance at Ryerson University in Toronto.

“To read this super-arrogant, super-racist comment was really disgusting.”

Assembly of First Nations regional chief Roger Augustine, who represents New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, said Mr. Trudeau’s comments about Mr. Brazeau could undermine his government’s message.

“To describe him like that is demeaning,” Mr. Augustine said. “It’s not a professional way for anyone to talk.”

Cindy Blackstock, a First Nations’ children’s advocate and social-work professor at McGill University, said Mr. Trudeau’s comments play into a narrative about colonialization “where Indigenous peoples are the savages and the non-Indigenous people are the civilized.”

“It’s unfortunate,” Prof. Blackstock said. “He’s using Indigenous peoples to try and emphasize the good qualities about himself.

“That really reinforces a lot of negative stereotypes about Indigenous peoples,” she added.

She said Mr. Trudeau’s remarks lead to more questions about the Prime Minister’s commitment to an equal relationship with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Mr. Trudeau recently suggested the government is not providing First Nations with the same level of funding for child welfare and health services available off-reserve because native communities do not yet know how they would spend additional funds.

“As a pattern, it’s concerning,” Prof. Blackstock said. She called on Mr. Trudeau to clarify his remarks to ensure they aren’t repeated in the future.

Robert Jago, a First Nations activist and writer, said many minority men are familiar with the stereotyping that Mr. Brazeau faced because of his race.

“It’s sad to see Trudeau not just buying into that stereotype, but using it for political gain,” he wrote in an e-mail. “If Trudeau believed in reconciliation, I’d think that he would be striving to show common cause with his fellow parliamentarians of Indigenous ancestry, not objectifying them as he has Brazeau.”

A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office said Mr. Trudeau’s commitment to reconciliation can be measured by his actions. “He has made it clear that there is no relationship more important to him – and to our government – than reconciliation with Indigenous peoples,” spokesman Cameron Ahmad said in an e-mail. This includes launching a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, which is now seen by many as troubled, as well as billions of new dollars promised for education, health and social development on reserves.

“We are fully committed to a renewed nation-to-nation relationship and to reconciliation,” Mr. Ahmad said.

Mr. Brazeau declined an interview request. In a message to the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network last week about the Rolling Stone article, he wrote, “I’ll take it as a compliment.”

Source: Indigenous advocates slam Trudeau for comments about Patrick Brazeau – The Globe and Mail

Canada’s real strength? It’s not diversity: Catherine Little

Valid point regarding diversity of choice that Canada offers regardless of origins, in terms of identities (but I wouldn’t necessity place it in opposition to the general point about diversity being a strength, just a reminder that of diversity within diversity, and the importance of choice):

Recently, I have been puzzling over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments during his interview with CTV’s Your Morning co-host Anne-Marie Mediwake. Ms. Mediwake described her family’s journey to Canada and the Prime Minister stated that he sometimes felt “jealous” of immigrants. His reasoning was that immigrants got to choose Canada while those born here were Canadians by default.

I don’t think there is anything to be jealous about. No matter how we came to be Canadian, our role in strengthening this country is dependent on the choices we make everyday. As an immigrant who did not personally choose Canada but has gratefully lived here for more than 90 per cent of my life, my perspective is this: I don’t believe the diversity of the population is our country’s greatest strength. Canada’s greatest strength is the diversity of the choices the population is free to make once we are here. Our future is dependent on enough people making wise ones.

Source: Canada’s real strength? It’s not diversity – The Globe and Mail