Once again, Canada is facing an influx of refugees from the United States Of America. That’s the sort of phrase you’re only supposed to read in dystopian science fiction, not real news articles. Last winter, migrants whose asylum applications had been denied in the USA began crossing into Canada, avoiding official border crossings because of a loophole that would have sent them back to the US and gotten them deported. Recently, another wave of refugees has been fleeing America because Donald Trump decided not to extend temporary protection for Haitians that was put in place after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The State Department has determined Haiti is now safe to return to, if you don’t mind the crushing poverty and cholera epidemics.
The influx of asylum seekers has prompted the Canadian military to build a camp near the border to house the overflow of people. The temporary camp, consisting of tents with floors, electric lights, and heating, should house about 500 people. So now America has something in common with northern Syria, isn’t that something. A Canadian Army spokesperson was careful to point out that the soldiers would be returning to their home bases after the camp is constructed, and that law enforcement in the camp will be handled by civilian authorities, while aid agencies will be responsible for administration. Because Canada is a civilized place, you know. About 700 people are currently waiting to be processed in the area, with no beds available, just benches and chairs.
Authorities are also facing logistical challenges in providing schooling, accommodation and other services once asylum seekers get to Montreal.
The cavernous Olympic Stadium is already being used to house people, but it will not be available as of next month, officials said at a news conference.
The city’s old Royal Victoria Hospital, which closed in 2015, will also be opened up to new arrivals.
Francine Dupuis, who oversees PRAIDA, the provincial organization that helps asylum seekers in their first months, said the building will accommodate an additional 320 people.
Dupuis said all asylum-seekers are currently being taken care of, and some shelters still have space, but steps to prepare additional space are being taken to meet the anticipated needs of future arrivals. Oddly, Canada is treating the new arrivals like human beings and not threatening to build a wall or shoot them on sight. Weird country up there.
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Hundreds of residents of Montreal turned out over the weekend to greet asylum seekers housed temporarily at the Olympic Stadium:
“It’s a way of saying ‘Welcome to Canada’ to people and, at the same time, ask Quebecers and Canadians for their solidarity,” said Serge Bouchereau, the spokesperson for the humanitarian group Comité d’action des personnes sans statut.
One of the Haitian arrivals from the erstwhile Land of the Free, Adline Tidas, said, “It is a good place. We have fun, we eat good[.]”
“I don’t want to go back to Haiti,” she said. “I come here because I know Canada is going to welcome us and we say, ‘Thank you, God, there is some place we can go.'”
Amazingly, neither Ms. Tidas nor her fiance were mobbed by a bunch of people wearing MAGA hats and telling them to go back where they came from.
Canadians sure are funny. They don’t even scream at people in need and tell them to stay the hell oot. How odd.
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