Political Blind Date: Episode 6 – Asylum Seekers

Political Blind Date: Episode 6 – Asylum Seekers



there's nothing fair about crossing through an illegal border crossing into Canada jumping the queue skipping the line and forcing others to wait longer because more and more resources have to go to those coming into Canada Canada has been a beacon of hope to refugees around the world those who are escaping danger and persecution but our Canadians changing their tune on the issue our recent refugee crossings at the border a crisis or just another problem to be solved our experiment plays political cupid by taking two opposing politicians out of their comfort zone you're gonna cross you regularly like Justin Trudeau tweet your what karma-kanda if they cross up there we can't catch them and forces them to listen to one another people come from Canada illegally irregularly when you cross the border it's a little we also want to make sure that people don't die we are sending them on a series of platonic dates to solve the thorniest issues facing Canadians I'm gonna need a martini who will seduce the other with logic or passion and what surprises are in store this is political flying date I grew up in a very political household my mother was as liberal as you can get once she said that if you you cut yourself and you bleed red you're a liberal if you bleed orange or NDP if you bleed blue you're gonna be a conservative but if you bleed red you should be a liberal so after a couple of years of working at Algoma steel I thought I wanted to try something different so I I took a year to study at the Vancouver School of Theology at UBC in Vancouver and begin the study towards a degree in theology it was a great period of my life and the church had a national system of settlement I left there after a few years and went to Toronto and continued in the church big congregation in Toronto and I was 52 years old and thinking mmm I've got I've got something left in me that wants to do something a little different and I decided that I would like to get into politics early on I found myself as an openly gay man representing the riding with the largest Muslim population in Canada that's not a normal thing they were suspicious of me of course and they're a fairly conservative small C conservative Muslim population and I just stood with them and I said your problems are my problems not only are your problems my problems but the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protects you is the Charter that protects me as a gay person we have more in this together than apart born in eastern don't ship but I'm just one years old I moved to Quebec City 17 years old just finished my high school turned the army reserve so I've been trained as a private beginning then I switched to become an officer I study in political science Laval University and then after that I've to choose if I want to stay in a reserve during the full time army you say yes so I start working with him I was just a young officer I wasn't chargeable to make a scene for the next 20 years grow up captain major than a become the commanding officer of my Regent that time I've been received by the Queen Buckingham Palace my military experience and my business experience it make me a better happy actually for my colleagues they saw me as a military new first but I've been business for 20 years but you saw me first of all as a military guy they called me some of them called me colonel how are you colonel always maybe because I've my hata – I'm stay I'm military when I talk when I walk I'm I think I look like a military for them laughter product Canada from coast to coast to coast we have to manage the border we manage our country the best way we can Canada has long taken in those who need our help resettling refugees is at the heart of what it is to be Canadian but some critics say that in a time when Donald Trump's America has become hostile to all forms of immigration Canada is left vulnerable to a wave of migrants from south of the border these people are choosing to cross the longest undefended border in the world without following Canada's rules for seeking asylum ground zero for these border crossings his Roxon road on the Quebec New York border where thousands of Asylum claimants have arrived over the past two years seeking status as refugees in Canada crossing here is illegal but the moment Asylum is claimed the claimants get to stay in Canada while their cases are processed the Liberal government says that we need to invest the resources necessary to process their claims the Conservatives say that this is an unacceptable expense that these asylum seekers are breaking the law and should be sent back to the u.s. just as they would had they entered at a regular border crossing what are the two parties willing to do about this situation at our border Pierre and Rob are spending the day together rare for rival politicians will they butt heads or might they find common ground actually we're in Quebec so today I'll be with Robin I found tonight I don't really know him a lot but I didn't grub is that so happy to meet with me because in the House of Commons for the last two years I asked a lot of question I push very hard on the issue with my colleagues I think a lot of liberal don't like me I'm known I think as an annoying person at times I'm known as as as raising issues of conscience we can't talk about immigration without Amy it's always kind of bad discussion and the Liberals said we're wrasses so each time we want to talk about it it's impossible I don't know why you scratch beneath the surface and there are people who are simply afraid of the other we'll see we'll see it's absolutely critical that we keep a human face on it and understand that these are real people we're always talking about illegal border crossers but there are people they are humans and I know that these people just want to have a better life and I think our job is to just to keep the border safe that's it we are ready sorry wrong review if our something I can't say that I can explain in English I'll recommend I never show some concept or moral and zero quest to danke no way so what job Quebec City is the city I go through often because my husband comes from Rimouski well okay so it's why your speak French – yeah I have to speak French at home yes I find we actually speak French on the telephone a lot but oh and when we were arguing he are you some French and i arguing with okay so I have to understand it you're the chair of the immigration county so you know we have a problem in Canada actually we have two problems the first one is the illegal ball across or issue and the other one is that the routine the system is broken down so the first thing is why do you say illegal these guys until they go to cross the border we know that that's how we'll keep that point no I mean we know it is illegal for me to cross so if I go across the border and I come back at a irregular border cross now it's illegal yep it is very clear in Canadian law and international law that if you seek asylum yes on the other side it's not illegal I mean it's irregular and it's why we want to change the rules there's a loophole and the safe ster contract remain all these people come from the US then it's supposed to ask asylum in the US the the saves our country agreement which the Conservative government had by the way then I notice this is not a liberal thing you you were in government for nine years I know but the agreement was clear if you arrive any what people was supposed to arrive at the main main ports of entry port of entry and then at that point if people has beforehand and guy will say no you can't have his all die in the US I mean we've got the NDP saying get rid of the safe sir agreement completely scrapped it they say to you say yeah United States is not a safe third country not store as a conservatives are saying make the whole border like build a wall no that's not true it's true this is your line this is the way you try to take another corner saying that they're crazy so if rocks on the road is closed but then well I'm gonna get in a boat and I'm gonna go across the other and I'm gonna die no I know we're gonna die refugees but this is not the point the point if if you want to cross the border did main point of entry we have an agreement we'll say go back in the US so which is the difference if you cross the próximo or some warehouse if you cross the border to come in Canada you're not supposed to be able to ask asylum because you're from me you come from the US that's it this is that simple so you've got like I'm gonna need a martini soon yeah we have a challenge I'm not just missing why I said we have to change return safe contractor announce rules just about a page that I mean your job it's our job together to say three four times in Washington I met a lot of congressmen their Senators and and the guy said it's your problem now your takis people in your country because we have 30 millions illegal people in the US people don't want to come to Canada actually most refugees want to stay in their own homes let's help them stay twenty thousand in a year 18,000 something like that that is not a crisis unless someone wants to play with it and call it a crisis it's a kind of crisis and we have to understand that Canada is a big country but not so big and we don't have it all the space we need to access a lot of people so now Rob we are going to the place where people Tom Cara Lee Lee regular Pierre has taken Rob across the Quebec border to New York State and to the place that has been at the heart of the border crossing issue some road so people just to come that way to take a bus in New York City to stop laying down that's a taxi and the taxi is just here Rock some road runs through the border between southern Quebec and northern New York State it is not a legal port of entry so anyone including a Canadian or US citizen would break the law crossing here still under Canadian and international law someone crossing has the right to claim asylum until recently there was no need for RCMP or border agents here but since early 2017 close to 40,000 people have entered Canada in this manner 96% of which crossed at rocks Amuro to cross the border here are any place of lines of port of entry it's illegal to cross that's main utility got to cross so it's illegal for us to cross for us and for legal for for anyone to cross unless I claim asylum on the other side then it's no longer illegal imagine 38,000 people cross the water here you know that small place and it's always it just jump up the taxi with the law gage okay so oh do you change it or the fact is they're they change it okay so now look the entry of the garbage you can throw your garbage there and cross these are people these are people with stories from broken countries this may be a mother and three children there's million twenty four percent of the crosses here our children these are 30 percent 13 for 40% I think young people and 30 percent are minors these are these are little kids and these are parents trying to find a make a way that their kids will be safe you're gonna cross you regularly oh this is Lauren so that's easy so wait gum huh like tweet justin trudeau tweet your work on Canada that way it's so easy and if they cross up there no if they cross up there we can't catch them and we want to catch them we want to apprehend them we want to make sure that there's cash there because without how to step we have to point of entry just one kilometers that way and two killers that way this is the place if you want to come in Canada you have to go there it's why there's a sign it's there and if you read it don't be the timber of misinformation so what is the misinformation they will be arrest yes and we have the capacity well when they get on the other side they're going to go through security processes we're going to hear their claims half of them about half or maybe a little more than half are gonna be sent back because they're not bonafide refugees and back where and their own countries so they're gonna be worse what is your point you ought to open a border here like this they can't and physically come here they can't physically coming they won't get here that's just a reality of their lives and when we determined they're not refugees they're gone so there's people will seem that they're during this Brooke because we'll have to deport them and it would be worse for them it's why I think technically it's a good way to manage the situation at one point but at the end of the day we have to just stop it really glad I got to go to rock some Road and I've come back saying huge respect for Canada Border Services for the government operations that are managing it I thought you get arrested but I thought they're gonna arrest you god so you're still believe that's a good idea to to draw the border that way so it's never you know I I mean absolutely how do you want people to cross the border and a regular border crossing that's that's the goal and you know we want asylum claims to be fairly adjudicated the reality is that people get desperate but it seems fair for the all the other people who want to to come in Canada Italy Canada this isn't for us this is not fair actually it's 38,000 people some people without know it's not so bad it's not millions like in Europe we know that but it's why we have to change the rules to make sure that people want to come here and on the legal side back in the Canadian border town of st. Bernard – like all Pierre shows robbed the government facility set up – temporarily housed the border crossers I want to protect their privacy which privacy the privacy of the people getting on the bus while we're far enough so I don't want to treat it like it's a spectacle and I don't want to treat it like it's a zoo okay they're human beings and I want to make sure they have dignity and are getting on a bus there's enough place for 500 people there is this supposed to be a program situation one hopes not one absolutely hopes that there's change of government in their home country a change of government south of the border and this the the flow stops what I am the most impressed about is the fact that I've not seen this before and the government's got a plan hi there oh you're bad I guess right now the government what they should do like us we try to get a truck driver from overseas they should accelerate their process yes sir because you have a labor shortage you just just in province of Quebec I was reading last night in three years from now we'll be 20,000 truck drivers I'm just drunk drivers most I'm mechanic and all that is it perfect no can we do better yes actually all the bureaucrats are so busy with the elegant megan's they can receive more people is they getting money from our pocket yeah and I think we need the money somewhere else I'd leave the money would be booked on the right side who would be better well I'll ask your questions is that the only place in Canada where they come no no we have a small number in Manitoba did for a while Manitoba was actually quite big it's dropped way down okay a few in British Columbia but it's about 900 I think here at local and maybe 20 or 30 in Manitoba and Corner 30 so good book is the big one everybody loves Quebec we're good people you're a good agent he's not gonna buy it it would cost 1.1 billion dollars for three years just for federal departments to manage these people now it's Rob's turn back in history no riding Rob wants Pierre to visit a business built by immigrants that makes it their mission to employ refugees good morning how are you I'm Greg Smith welcome to paramount Middle Eastern kitchen this is a Thai restaurant owner very good to meet you that's me I was here for your opening yes right now we talked to chambers of commerce we talked to business owners we talked to bar a we're short labor we need more skilled labor you need more general laborers we need more professionals right this way gentlemen it's not as easy as it looks but there you go one of our gentlemen right here who's been working with us for a little while yeah what's your name thanks were you from from Iraq Miriam she's been with us for almost a year maybe she works on the bakery and sure is on the front as well and Alex on the bakery and the line as well and they've been both been great team players and now we're lucky to have what yeah so they just as she has a family and her kids with school and stuff holding our kids my daughter 8 years my son six years so one year and a half before that you don't speak English I don't know wow so you learn fast yeah look I'm from Quebec so I speak French and we have a problem in Quebec because people who came from other countries sir in French is too too tough it's you don't want they want to move here or somewhere else in Canada they don't stay in Quebec that's why we're some problem to have some refugees and that people who want to leave you find your English is improving here at the restaurant – I mean you have to speak English or do you mostly speak Arabic me I have friend and in brain oh yeah you're getting from him well that's good we have an ageing population we have low birthrate hello big country we have an economy that's changing and emerging out of an old resource-based economy we need people Rob thinks it's important the Pierre meets some of the refugee women from his writing morning Rob introduces Pierre to a recent refugee from Afghanistan who is now teaching parenting skills to other refugee women who crossed over from the US yeah how long ago two years because before I had to studied in Afghanistan back and also had my much one degree in journalism and then I studied quality cosines and then when I come here I was searching for a job I did volunteering with Afghan women's organization for a long time and then I started working here was it scary for you to cross the border in Canada it was a little bit scary because I didn't know if it's it works or not but they accept me and I just claim on the water and come inside Canada where you come toward and Niagara Falls to the rainbow I wish the teacher she came in kind of illegally she crossed the border from the US and then I was not very happy with this because in front of all the other women wait their turn and they in Afghanistan have a work permit so you get to well I have a work permit and I'm I have my status as a protected person convention refugee goods we have a lot of stories around this room I bet I do tell about my husband your husband was killed by the Taliban yes we're glad you came yes never-ever is talking to speak English then now came to Canada before two years now this link class is good I'm talking so we know that the processes are slow that families are still broken that they need to be reunited and it's something we need to keep working on I so he's writing he in Toronto you have a lot of people coming from everywhere in the world so his situation is quickly different of mine I'm from Quebec City it's 99% of white French people in Quebec City we're not used to live the reality that Rob have to live I'm inspired by them some of them are broken no doubt about it we saw women today who don't have all the skills they need they don't have the language skills yet they don't have the confidence they don't have the social skills they don't have the networking skills well thank goodness we're taking the time to help them build that Rob takes the air to meet a unique hockey team at a rink in his writing my name is poison Hashem zine Boise Z or mold cork cold-smoked so we have in common that we both started playing hockey at six ah the difference is I stopped at seven boys and girls I want to take the opportunity to introduce you to two important gentlemen who are here they actually represent Canadians in parliament in Ottawa you know this is a the son of a refugee refugee from Uganda today running a hockey group he's doing this to build a charity that help kids way more in charity than I give way more than most Canadians gift how many were born in Canada now nobody was born in Canada what countries are you from so what's kind of Afghanistan yeah Syria Sudan Sudan India India we have kids from 25 different countries of origin the vast majority of them have never skated before it really helps them just in terms of developing confidence and we want them to go out and do other things but this is really that base that we've developed here let's play hockey once a week should we do a scrimmage today a little shinny action we'll have team pierre and team rob what do you guys think [Applause] one of the things that happens in politics is we objectify the other there there's someone else they must be bad is a very good man before this for me was just a liberal reasonable thoughtful and I'm really glad to get to know him and we have fun together to play okay I give him full credit of walking through the day to engage in a world that's not normal for him the respect my view I respect is you but as federal politicians that's what we need to do helped Evo create a better world through the power of learning visit TV org and make a tax-deductible donation today

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