“Canadians and Canadians alone should make decisions on who comes into our country and under what circumstances,” Scheer said this week as he signalled strong opposition to the UN agreement on migration.
Conservative politicians are pushing back, saying signing it would be tantamount to erasing Canada’s borders.
But the Liberals say Conservatives are simply trying to court voters being fed conspiracy theories about the UN agreement fuelled by the online news outlet Rebel Media.
The Global Compact on Migration is set to become the first, inter-governmentally negotiated agreement under the UN to cover all dimensions of international migration; it is aimed at improving co-operation between countries and will be signed by multiple countries next week in Morocco.
Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen is to sign on Canada’s behalf.
“Instead of signing international agreements that erode our sovereign right to manage our borders, the prime minister should focus on restoring order at home,” said Scheer.
Critics derided the agreement as ‘border-erasing policy’.
People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier also saying it would “normalize mass migration.”
Scheer, Rempel and Rebel Media have further raised concerns about the compact legally binding Canada to the provisions within the agreement — a claim the Liberals say is false.
Consensus on the final version of the Global Compact on Migration was reached this summer in New York at the sixth round of negotiations on the proposed international policy document.
Almost all UN member states are poised to sign it, except the United States and Hungary. Pope Francis is one of many dignitaries expected to be in Morocco for the signing event next week.
The agreement itself contains 23 objectives and commitments, each focusing on a different dimension of migration, from the moment a migrant decides to flee their country due to violence or persecution through to the time they return to their home country.
Canada played an active role driving the agreement forward, although the government has indicated it will closely review the text before formally signing the document, according to a senior official.
Welcoming people through a rigorous immigration system from around the world is what has made Canada strong, and indeed something the world needs more of.
However, the government has been deluged by letters from thousands of Canadians asking that it delay signing the agreement until a national debate is held.
Many argue that the UN agreement is attempting to eliminate criticism of the accommodation of migrants and would effectively “label those who complain as racists or haters, thus stifling any freedom of discussion.”
Objective 17 of the agreement does ask countries to commit to eliminating discrimination, as well as to “promote independent, objective and quality reporting of media outlets, including internet-based information, including by sensitizing and educating media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology.”
Perhaps there should have been a lot more debate on a divisive issue like migration given that it is already stirring right-wing rumblings from coast to coast. Signing this agreement could well be socially and politically risky. -CINEWS