BEPPLE – Kudos to Canada for signing compact on safe migration

Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis.

FEDERAL OPPOSITION Leader Andrew Scheer and his band of Conservatives are playing divisive politics at the expense of people seeking asylum in Canada.  On Monday, Canada, along with 160 other countries, became signatories of the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

As a compact, and not a treaty, it is non-binding by Canada.  Even so, last week, Scheer stood in parliament, urging Canada not to sign it.  Though non-binding, Scheer made the ludicrous claims in parliament that the compact would “give influence over Canada’s immigration system to foreign entities.”

Heading into the 2019 election, it seems clear that Scheer wants to build his own figurative or literal wall against migration, just as those south of the border did.  He uses terms like “illegal immigration,” rather than “migrants” or “asylum seekers” to vilify many who arrive at our borders.

The world is awash with refugees.  Actually, the world is awash in conflict, catastrophe and injustice that force people to flee.  Over 258 million people in the world are fleeing their homes.  In 2016, the latest numbers available, Canada accepted only 46,000, or a mere 0.02% (not even 1%, not even 0.1%, but just 0.02%).

Refugees come to Canada in many ways.  Some apply from outside Canada through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

But not all refugees have safety or sanctuary in another country, from which they can apply for asylum for in Canada.  Some arrive in Canada, and claim asylum at our border or from within Canada.

In the U.S. right now, there are 13,000 children locked in detention, separated from their parents. Likely, many will never see their parents again.  A person living in the U.S. could well fear for their safety and wellbeing if they stayed in the U.S.  So some are coming to our borders and seeking asylum.

Canada has a history of accepting refugees who arrive at our borders.

In 1979-80, 60,000 Vietnamese Boat People found refuge in Canada after the Communist victory in the Vietnam War.  Many arrived on our shores in rickety, rusty boats.  We opened our arms and let them in.  I remember working as a dishwasher in a Kamloops restaurant beside a Vietnamese woman, a doctor, who had arrived on a boat.  Forty years on, they are not refugees, or newcomers.   They are our neighbors, friends and fellow Canadians.

Canada also has a history of callously turning away refugees at our borders.

From 1933 to 1945, Europe came under the grip of Nazism.  Jews and others were first persecuted, then imprisoned, and then finally exterminated through genocide.  Canada took in fewer than 5,000 European Jews during this time.

In 1938, a boatload of 907 Jews, fleeing Germany, arrived in Canada. They were refused admittance.  The boat load of Jews returned to Germany where most died in the Nazi Holocaust.

As long as there is conflict, refugees will continue to arrive at our borders.

From the 1890’s, Ukrainian refugees arrived in Canada, fleeing persecution under Austro-Hungarian rule.  More arrived in the 1920 to 30’s, and again from 1945-52, fleeing civil war and Soviet Communist repression.  As Russian tanks mass on Ukraine’s border, it doesn’t take much to imagine that more refugees from the Ukraine may come to Canada in the near future.

Canada has chosen to stand with 160 other countries and deal with human migration in a way that is fair, just and compassionate.  It has chosen to work with other countries to find global solutions, rather than isolate ourselves.

With 258 million refugees, plus many other types of migrants, from international students, to temporary foreign workers, to permanent residents, and more, Canada should work with other countries cooperatively on migration.  The United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is a tool to help do this.

Canada must continue its path as a welcoming country, working with other countries on migration issues.  First and foremost, Canada must work to reduce conflict, so that people do not have to flee.

Second, when there are refugees, Canada should work cooperatively with other countries, to support the refugees wherever they end up.  Kudos to Canada for signing the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Nancy Bepple is a former city councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.

About Mel Rothenburger (7618 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

7 Comments on BEPPLE – Kudos to Canada for signing compact on safe migration

  1. Lets see here Saudi Arabia signed it and has never let in immigrant refugees but no one questions that. Half of the EU has refused to sign it because they know how the left leaning EU courts have interpreted UN declarations in the past and have used them as a basis for legal decisions. This will come back and countries will wonder how they lost control.

    • The EU has already lost control without signing anything. Canada, with the way Trudeau has been going with his ” irregular ” border crossers, is likely to go out of control if we sign this, even if it isn’t binding.

  2. Shayne Turner // December 13, 2018 at 8:26 PM // Reply

    I have absolutely no problem with proper and legal immigration and believe Canada needs and will always need an influx of new people.
    That being said… We have rules and regulations for a reason. Those illegal immigrants who have chosen to break the laws and enter Canada illegally should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of said laws and should not be allowed a hearing until they have been returned to their country of origin and come through the system that has been legitimately set up by our previous governments. There are way too many honourable applicants being put out and delayed from process because of the border jumpers and this has created it’s own new burden on the country.
    To suppose that the UN has any inkling as to what would be best for our country is absolutely absurd.
    The UN is presently headed by, the Chinese, a great model for human rights in the world: the Saudis, another bastion of Feminine equality and who by the way have taken in absolutely zero refugees, and other 3rd world countries who’s leaders treat their citizens worse than the dirt they trod on.
    To presume these grandiose leaders would select the best hordes to help keep Canada at the level of life and economy, in the fashion it has slipped down to in the past number of years, is folly.
    It is and should be solely up to Canada and the citizens of our country to choose who, how many and under what criteria we allow peoples to immigrate into our life and system.
    At present the UN is as flawed and useless as its predecessor, the League of Nations and in my opinion should share the same fate.

    • Despite ample evidence in the Panama Papers many well-heeled Canadians have broken many laws no one is yet to be held accountable. I am not saying two wrongs make a right, but let’s go after them fat cats with perhaps the same zealously as we go after people who have little more than just hope as their coats.

  3. Dawne Taylor // December 13, 2018 at 7:40 PM // Reply

    Good column Nancy. Thank you for expressing the need and our responsibility so eloquently.

  4. George S Duncan // December 13, 2018 at 12:41 PM // Reply

    Perhaps Nancy Bepple could explain why Canada, a sovereign nation with its own borders, laws, immigration methods, needs to sign a contract with the UN to allow immigration?
    Isn’t there something fishy about that?
    We’ve always handled our immigration according to our needs and preferences, but all of a sudden, we need the UN to make these decisions? Why?
    Ms Bepple clearly has not done her research into the immigration methods used by the dictatorship-dominated UN, which is anti-democracy, anti-Western culture, and deeply jealous of the success of Western civilization.
    So please explain, why does Canada need the UN to manage our immigration?

    • It would be nice to know more about your research George into the immigration methods used by the dictatorship-dominated UN and into the anti-democracy, anti-Western culture claim and into the deeply jealous of the success of Western civilization claim also. Not that I am a big fan of the UN in practical terms but hearing from you on your research would be perhaps enlightening.

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