Make illegal border spots official: Scheer

OTTAWA — The Liberal government should designate the illegal entry points into Canada being used by hundreds of asylum seekers a day as official crossings, says Opposition leader Andrew Scheer.

That’s one way the government could put a halt to a situation that is creating not just havoc at the border but within the Canadian immigration system itself, Scheer said Thursday in an interview.

“The prime minister has known that this was coming for eight months now and has done nothing about it,” Scheer said.

“He’s now bringing out measures to manage the situation but nothing to actually deal with it in the first place.”

Nearly 10,000 people have been apprehended crossing illegally into Canada from the U.S. since January, primarily at points in Manitoba and Quebec. Since July, there’s been a major spike in crossings in Quebec in particular — the RCMP intercepted 3,800 people there in the first two weeks of August alone.

The reason they’re choosing those informal border entry points is the agreement between Canada and the U.S. that precludes people from making asylum claims at official land border points, with some exceptions.

Dozens of lawyers, refugee advocates and academics have called in recent weeks for the Safe Third Country Agreement to be suspended.

They argue that in the wake of major changes in American immigration policy, the U.S. can no longer be considered a safe country.

They say that if the deal was put on pause, at least those leaving the U.S. to seek asylum here could then do so legally and safely.

Scheer said he feels many factors are driving people to come north from the U.S., not just the immigration policy changes under U.S. President Donald Trump.

The country remains safe, Scheer said, and so the agreement shouldn’t be suspended, but expanded.

In addition to declaring Lacolle, Que., and Emerson, Man., as formal points of entry, the Liberals could start the process to see the agreement apply at all Canada-U.S. border points.

Another option he’s proposing is that the government formally declare the arrivals as “irregular” which could see them detained and have restrictions placed on their immigration status. Any of the actions would have an impact, he said.

“One, it would have a practical consequence on dealing with the problem as it happens,” he said.

“It would also send that much needed signal to all those in the United States who think that they can just come over and be in a better situation.”

Just Posted

Joshua Frank takes stand in murder trial

Joshua Frank testifies he had no idea Klaus family would be murdered

Doctor first in Red Deer to offer Mohs surgical suite for skin cancer

A local doctor says a skin cancer surgery newly offered locally will… Continue reading

Lacombe family in TV cooking contest needs Central Albertan votes

The Gustafsons are in the running to win a trip to Italy

Methamphetamine, THC found in half-million dollar seizure and Bowden Institution

Nearly half a million dollars worth of drugs and other contraband was… Continue reading

Community support needed to bring Canadian Finals Rodeo to Red Deer

Bid from Westerner Park and Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce

WATCH: National women’s hockey team in Red Deer

Before heading to next year’s Olympics in South Korea, the women’s national… Continue reading

New columnist joining Advocate team

Market Gypsy starts on November 30

Volunteer with victim services in Red Deer

Learn more at info session on Nov. 27

Updated: Missing Sylvan Lake women found

Women were reported missing earlier this week

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month