“…Politicians such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Canada have used the opportunity of Europe’s migration catastrophe to grandstand and present themselves as offering a different way. In the wake of Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric on building a wall along the US-Mexican border, Trudeau in particular has presented himself as the yin to Donald Trump’s yang. In January, when President Trump was sworn into office, Trudeau sent out a Tweet reading, “To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.” To which he added the hashtag, #WelcomeToCanada. In March of this year, in another clear response to the US President, Trudeau tweeted, “Regardless of who you are or where you come from, there’s always a place for you in Canada” — a tall order, given the existence of 7.5 billion people on this earth, many of whom are not already Canadian.
The movement which the Canadian Prime Minister appears to be auditioning to lead is one which seeks (as protestors often put it) to “build bridges not walls”. It is an attractive slogan, although anyone who utters it cannot have been to London recently where (after attacks on Westminster and London Bridge within just a few weeks) the city’s bridges are covered in security walls and barricades. Which might suggest that the “walls and bridges issue” is not, after all, an either/or business, or even the central issue at all.
Yet, given this considerable grandstanding in the early part of the year, it would take a heart of stone not to laugh now at the situation in which Prime Minister Trudeau finds himself. In recent months, thousands of migrants, most of them from Haiti, have crossed the border — illegally — from the US into Canada. This influx — tiny by European standards — has already started to buckle the Canadian immigration system. Hundreds of migrants have had to be housed in emergency tent villages set up by the Canadian army and many have been temporarily housed at the old Olympic stadium in Montreal.”