NDP leader Tom Mulcair is again calling on Justin Trudeau to denounce the U.S. travel ban, saying that it will not affect Canada’s relationship with its neighbour to the south.
“Canada’s always been able to have different positions with regard to the United States and continue to be that very good neighbour. All you have to do is go back to the Vietnam War or go back to 2003 when we said we wouldn’t take part in the war in Iraq,” he said in an interview on The West Block.
“That didn’t stop us from having this tremendous trade relationship with the U.S. and sharing so many other values in common with them.”
The travel ban, a new version of which was signed March 6 after an older version was partly blocked by the courts, bars new visas for people from Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Iran as well as temporarily blocking new refugees. The 90-day ban is set to begin March 16.
Mulcair said Trudeau needs to stand up to this policy. “I think that Mr. Trudeau talks a very good game about international human rights. I think it’s time he actually started showing that there’s meaning behind that by standing up to President Trump and denouncing clearly something that is racist and affecting Canadians.”
Mulcair also believes that Canada should suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement, a treaty between Canada and the United States that requires people to make refugee claims in whichever of the two countries they land in first.
He thinks doing so would help to stem the flow of asylum seekers arriving in Canada by crossing the land border, often under dangerous circumstances.
“If they’re not treated properly at the normal reception points, they’re going to start to look for other places of entry to Canada,” he said. “What I mean is when you suspend that agreement, you can take them in at the normal places, the normal border crossings.”
He also referenced a report by “22 law schools” which made various legal arguments in favour of suspending the Safe Third Country Agreement. The report was part of a “research-a-thon” by Canadian law students done with the explicit goal of finding ways to challenge the agreement.
The government has faced calls from civil liberties groups and others to suspend the agreement, but so far has no plans to change it.
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