A smile and arrest welcome asylum seekers to Canada

Images of those arrests have been beamed around the world. Mounties gently carrying children, Mounties assisting women struggling with their possessions once they make it over the ditch.

Gasse shakes his head as he describes how the force has given interviews about the asylum seekers to broadcast crews from Norway and Australia, to the BBC and China state television.

“They tell us they are interested in the story because of the way we treat them when they cross the border. For us, it’s a crime. We arrest them. We do our police work. But in other parts of the world they aren’t as warm as here in Canada.”

That warmth, the generosity of Canada’s refugee system, is a source of pride to many Canadians. It’s also a growing source of debate.

The CBC can see which way the wind is blowing, so the narrative has changed. Before, the Canadian police were gracious active participants helping refugees escape the US – now they’re tough (but nice) guys enforcing the law. Of course the asylum seekers will spend the night in a warm clean jail with hot meals before the judge awards them official refugee status and all the perks that entails.