Candice Malcolm: Trudeau’s mixed message on immigration


(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is sending mixed messages when it comes to Canada’s immigration and refugee laws.

He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth, and it’s starting to create real problems for Canada — particularly when it comes to border security and our relationship with our southern neighbour and closest ally.

While Trudeau was on his best behaviour this week in Washington—where he played nice with President Donald Trump — he hasn’t always been so diplomatic.

Last year, before Trump secured his position as a presidential candidate, Trudeau arrogantly bashed him in a CTV interview.

Trudeau said it was “powerful” to draw a contrast between his own Syrian refugee policy and the approach taken by Trump.

“I don’t think anybody in Canada, or around the world, thinks I have anything supportive to say or anything but condemnation for Donald Trump,” Trudeau said.

Strong words.

Trudeau miscalculated Trump’s popularity and assumed, like most other elites, that Trump would never be president. Now that Trump is president, Trudeau has had to dramatically change his tone.

Except, occasionally, Trudeau can’t seem to help himself.

Following Trump’s ham-fisted executive order on immigration security, Trudeau took to social media to once again contrast himself from Trump on refugees.

“To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith,” said Trudeau on Twitter. “Diversity is our strength. Welcome to Canada.”

This feel-good mantra was shared hundreds of thousands of times, reached millions of people online and made headlines around the world.

Trudeau’s words, however, were both vague and misleading. Canada, in many ways, takes a more careful and prohibitive approach to immigration than our American neighbours.

We have better control over our borders, we focus more on economic immigration and selecting those who will be successful in our country, and we only accept a small percentage of those who apply to immigrate to Canada.

Coming to Canada is no easy feat.

Trudeau’s message was not accompanied by any changes to our immigration laws or policies. It seems the purpose of his tweet was simply to virtue signal, to once again differentiate himself from Trump.

But words have consequences, especially when coming from a high-profile figure like Trudeau.

Many around the world took his message literally.

They saw Canada’s prime minister issuing an open invitation to come to Canada.

We’re already seeing the consequences of this invitation at our borders.

There has been a notable surge in asylum seekers illegally crossing into Canada along our southern border.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials have been overwhelmed with the spike in migrants — often facilitated by human smuggling...(READ MORE)