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And now, for this week’s top political stories:
1.Canadian Asylum Seekers Influx – In the first two months of 2017, Canada has seen a rise in the number of asylum seekers illegally crossing the Manitoba and Quebec borders from the US into Canada. Canada has received 3802 such refugee claims this year – already 10% of the total amount of such claims received in 2008, the highest year on record. The increase in illegal crossings is due to a combination of two things: the new Trump administration policies and the Safe Third Country Agreement. As Canada and the US are both members of the UN’s Safe Third Country Agreement, anyone who crosses legally from the US into Canada and tries to make a refugee claim would be sent back because the US is also a ‘safe third country’. The NDP has challenged the Liberals to eliminate the Safe Third Country Agreement due to the incentive it provides for people to enter illegally, thereby risking life and limb. Liberal Citizenship and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has commented that, “We will not get out of the Safe Third Country Agreement because the United States continues to meet its international obligations with respect to its domestic asylum system”. The Conservatives have challenged the Liberals to increase support for the border towns dealing with the influx. (Globe and Mail)
2.Manning Centre Conference and the Conservative Party – The Manning Centre Conference took place this week – an “annual gathering of conservative opinion leaders, academics, commentators and politicians” hosted by former Reform Party Leader Preston Manning. This year the conference included a debate of the 14 Conservative Party leadership candidates, as well as a range of populist speakers and topics (think Doug Ford and the anti-elite, anti-establishment trend). For a summary of the Conference see this Ottawa Sun article, and for a scathing review of the Conference agenda and Conservative Party direction, see this National Post article by Andrew Coyne.
- Want to vote in the Conservative Leadership Race? Make sure you join the party here by March 28. A 1 year membership is $15 and allows you to vote for the next leader.
3. Anti-Islamophobia Motions – The Ontario Legislature unanimously passed an anti-Islamophobia motion this week, mirroring the the motion being debated at the federal level in the House of Commons. (Globe and Mail)
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister meeting with refugee claimants
Source: John Woods, Canadian Press