Here’s what I have to say about MP Tony Clement’s recent newsletter ~ Opinion

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By Nancy Osborne

Last week I received a flyer in the mail from our Federal Member of Parliament, Tony Clement. I had heard about the flyer and had seen part of it copied onto social media but somehow I was still unprepared for the message being shared. The flyer encourages constituents to “Have their say.” So, I did some research and am having my say.

Over the past two years there has been an influx in the number of people and families seeking asylum in Canada. This influx can reasonably be attributed to a coinciding change of political environment in the US.  People who previously did not live in fear of the US government, now do.  Many Canadians traveling to the US have experienced these changes when they cross the border.  Indeed, these changes have left many Canadians reluctant to travel to or transit through the US.

This can hardly be blamed on the current Canadian Government, the Opposition or even the previous Conservative Government.

The flyer received from the Member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka appears to be an information bulletin about illegal border crossings. There is a quote from the leader of the Conservative Party, Andrew Scheer, stating, “We believe families who follow the rules to come to Canada should come before those who attempt to cross the border illegally.”

According to the Government of Canada website – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – Irregular border crossings and asylum in Canada; asylum claims are governed by international treaties to which Canada is a signatory and as a result:

  • Canada cannot close the border to asylum claimants.
  • Canada has a legal responsibility to assess asylum claims, regardless of how the claimants enter the country.
  • Asylum claimants and immigrants are not the same thing.
  • Asylum claimants are not placed ahead of immigrants who are coming to Canada from abroad through other immigration streams.
  • Canada cannot send asylum claimants back to where they came from without a hearing.
  • Asylum claimants entering irregularly are immediately detained and undergo thorough security and background screening.  If they pose a risk, they are barred from making an asylum claim, detained further and removed.
  • The Safe Third Country Agreement does not apply to claimants who have entered Canada at a location that is not a port of entry.

The bulletin from Tony Clement MP, goes on to state, “The arrival of over 10,700 illegal border crossers has undermined our immigration system and has shortchanged thousands of people who are trying to legally come to Canada. This is completely unfair to everyone who has waited years to come to Canada through the proper channels.”

Prior to the change of political environment in the US, Canadians rarely heard about irregular border crossings or asylum claimants. The majority of us knew little about the process and now generally rely on the leaders in our community to guide us in our understanding.

Most of us would interpret the statement in this bulletin to mean that the asylum claims made by those who do not cross at regular border crossings are somehow delaying and interfering with immigrants who have applied to come to Canada. However, asylum claimants and immigrants are not the same and their applications are processed through separate streams.

Most of us would also interpret the statement to mean that those claiming asylum are doing so illegally which is not correct.

It is true that there has been an increase in the number of people entering Canada at irregular crossing points and they are not crossing legally. All are detained when intercepted, but in accordance with international treaties, the Government of Canada is obliged to treat those making a claim for asylum differently than those who simply enter the country at irregular crossings.

I am struggling to understand the purpose for this bulletin. I would hope it is not an attempt to generate an emotional response from constituents who might be unfamiliar with the legal definitions of immigrants and asylum claimants or the legal responsibilities of the Government of Canada.

How much do you know about asylum claims in Canada? Take this Government of Canada quiz and find out.

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Nancy Osborne has seen some terrible things throughout her military career and during her time with the United Nations as a security specialist. Serving in the Security Branch of the Canadian military, Osborne enlisted as a Private and retired as a Major 21 years later. She was honoured with a CD (the post-nominal letters for the Canadian Forces Decoration) and is recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation in recognition of a significant contribution to Canada as well as a Commander’s Commendation. Following retirement, Nancy was recruited in 2002 by the United Nations as one of the first women ever deployed as a security risk adviser in the support of UN humanitarian operations in high threat environments. In 2010, Nancy was appointed as a security manager at UNICEF Headquarters in New York. From there she managed global emergencies affecting UNICEF staff and provided extended surge support in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti and South Sudan. When Nancy retired she thought that it would be a shame not to use all of that training so she launched a not-for-profit called I Got This as a platform for workshops called Unlocking Your Instincts for women.

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27 Comments

  1. The flyer from Clement, and largely promulgated by Scheer and the Conservatives, is ramping up and we MUST resist these falsehoods being spread throughout our community specifically, and the country in general. Even more, now that the PCs are now in power in Ontario, we have to be even more cautious with the divisive and racist claims made by the Conservatives in this country, namely under the guise of fraudulent/illegal/extra-legal entrance into Canada. The ignorance and downright racist tone of this “flyer” is targeted towards Canadians who are unaware of the obligations Canada has to others fleeing from war/injustice/insecurity around the world and unaware of the different levels and ways of seeking asylum/gaining immigration status in Canada. Like our neighbours to the South, this discourse fans the flames of hate and does not belong in our community, country and certainly NOT our governments.

    • How is it “fanning the flames of hate” to point out a problem? Is it “hateful” to insist that governments south of the U.S. border deal with their own problems?

      • Tony Clement has my total support. He is our dedicated, committed MP and his constituents are extremely fortunate to have hm working for them from the Conservative perspective of patriotism. His flyer communications are appreciated, accurate assessments of the very serious issues facing Canadians under this tyrannical Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau who said, “The very concept of a nation founded by European settlers is offensive to me. Old stock White Canadians are an unpleasant relic, and quite frankly, replaceable. And we will replace them.” Justin is working with diligence to do just this through mass, unvetted immigration of illegal aliens. This invasion is costing us dearly in government assistance that is given to them rather than our own people in need, in the security risks that are created, in their desire to dramatically change our culture and values to suit theirs. Let us hope for the sake of the very existence of our country as we knew it before the intentional damage done to our democracy and sovereignty by Justin Trudeau that Tony and his Conservative team will form the new government in 2019.

  2. Josephine McClelland on

    I agree with Tony whole heartedly; do the proper things to come to Canada. Don’t sneak in. Who knows how many terrorist are coming in using hard luck to gain sympathy. Too late once something happens!

    • Tony Clement is a committed, informed, patriotic Canadian and the constituents in his riding of Parry Sound Muskoka are extremely fortunate to have him representing us and always standing for our best interests. Canada is being invaded by illegal aliens who do not wish to share our culture and values but wish to impose their own on us. If they are in America legally they are in no danger. President Trump is absolutely correct in putting the welfare and security of his own people first. In Canada, Globalist narcissist Justin Trudeau, actively promotes this illegal alien invasion of our country partly to buy votes and because he holds little more than contempt for the Canadians that have earned the right to be citizens of Canada.

  3. We have a right as a nation to choose who becomes a Canadian. We also have a responsibility to give anyone who arrives at our border due process under Canadian law. It might be expensive and time consuming, but so are many far less meaningful endeavours.

  4. These flyers are sent to us, on OUR dime,supposedly, to inform us about what is happening in parliament and the doings of the government. Of course these reports are, inescapably, slanted. But I have found Tony’s always blatantly political! For instance: when he asks”who is doing better The Conservatives, the Liberals, or the NDP?” That is party propaganda So I totally agree that his letter should only be sent to party members, on his dime, because they appear to be prepared to swallow his racist, divisive and outright lies! Party propaganda should not be freely distributed!

  5. Very well written. Mr. Clement should be ashamed of himself. We don’t need any more hate in Canada. Let’s show some compassion for people who have not had the good luck to be born in Canada.

    • Agreed, Josephine. I have it on good authority that work permits for illegals are being processed ahead of those who are seeking them legitimately. It is a fabrication that all of the people coming here illegally are fleeing violence. There was a woman arrested recently by U.S. authorities who had her daughter with her but had left her husband and three other children in Ecuador. He had a good job and so did she back home. The flood of illegals are bringing many problems with them and overwhelming the ability of cities and provinces to deal with them.

      • Karen Wehrstein on

        “Good authority?” Let’s hear who your source is, then.
        .
        Part of the change in the political atmosphere south of the border that Nancy is talking about, and which we all know you support, is strategic use of falsehood. Including to fan the flames of hate.

        • Karen, you know that the demand to reveal a source is illegitimate to a journalist who is concerned about the welfare of his/her source. Like all liberals, you attack those with whom you disagree rather than dispute their quoted facts. What I cite are not “falsehoods” and certainly not intended to “fan the flames of hate”. Hysterical anger such as you have expressed toward me, is not becoming to one who would influence others. I do not support anything except fighting injustice. You would do well to do the same instead of attacking fellow citizens.

  6. Jim Logagianes on

    Thank you for this insightful piece, discrediting people who have nothing,, and our looking for a better life is mean spirited and wrong. Opposition Parties in Canada are always the same. Always looking for opportunities to discredit the Governing party without ever offering solutions to the many problems facing our nation. If every elected official despite their party status worked collectively to find solutions, instead of hammering away at hot button issues in hopes of discrediting the ruling party. We might have a chance to find some common ground. Sadly, every time Canadians elect a majority government, they block transparency making our opposition parties attempts to scrutinize the ruling party virtually useless.
    No Transparency, No Democracy.

  7. I love the fact I can comment on policy and am asked to do so regardless of the format. If you want to influence decision making use the the platforms made available .Thanks Tony for the opportunity.

  8. Kathy Henderson on

    Having an opinion is not racist or hatemongering. It is getting impossible to even talk without someone calling racist or homophobe or Islamophobic. I think government IS LETTING IN AND KEEPING too many immigrants and so called asylum seekers. I think that some of the people are actual asylum seekers but the majority are not. Canada is far in debt and still spending millions on others while Canadians pay for it and suffer. I think there has come a time that Canada has to look after its own first. When Canada can feed and house all Canadians and health care is not in jeopardy and we are not taxed so much that we can barely afford to have one kid then I throw my arms open to welcome immigrants and asylum seekers. Right now we are not financially able to look after our own. And having an opinion is not racist or means I hate immigrants and am promoting hate. We need to get our own house in order first to be able to look after Canadians and others who seek to come to Canada. I have to say I am with Tony on this.

  9. Karen Wehrstein on

    Thanks for an excellent opinion piece from a true expert that encapsulates the balance between compassion and security that is truly Canadian.
    .
    We do *not* need Trump-style hate-mongering here in Canada, especially on the taxpayer’s dime. Shame on Scheer and the Tory brass. And Tony, you should know better.

  10. Lesley Hastie on

    Thank you, Nancy for giving us the facts about Canada, and every country’s legal obligation to those fleeing from another country and seeking asylum.
    Circumstances of those fleeing for their lives often do not allow them to go through the proper channels, to fill in paperwork at a Canadian embassy probably far away, to get clearance.
    I recommend to those interested in the stories of some refugees and the legal processes in place here to read the novel, partly based on fact,”The Boat People”, by Canadian author, Sharon Bala. A very good and thought-provoking read.

  11. Sandy McLennan on

    To quote the piece: “… hope it is not an attempt to generate an emotional response from constituents who might be unfamiliar with the legal definitions of immigrants and asylum claimants or the legal responsibilities of the Government of Canada”. I always have that hope, too, yet the fact is not only is this such an attempt, it is working. Read the comments here. It’s our main problem in society: all talk, little listen, no time for facts let alone for discourse. I agree with Jim here: party politics are failing us in actually dealing with real people and issues that affect us all.

  12. My opinion let us help our people first but now the way the government sees it.Look at our seniors alot have not enough money for food and shelter, our children are homeless, but we can pay for immigrants dental, health, shelter.Look at the family who came with 11 wives and 22 children a dept of $360,000.00. lets let all levels of government work together and solve this matter. Quit the back stabbing Tony wake up.

  13. Well said Ms Osborne; Mr. Clement, [who should know better] uses his so-called newsletter to promulgate ‘fake news’. But, be assured, Mr Clement has never made a non-partisan comments in his life,…he was trained at the feet of Stephen Harper and Mike Harris. Giving asylum to irregular border crossers can sometimes be misused. BUT, it is the Canadian way of forgiveness, compassion and hope. At the Pope’s visit to the Capuchin Franciscan Friary today in Dublin, Brother Kevin told Pope Francis that the brothers serve 800+ hot meals a day to anyone who comes to the door,…..NO QUESTIONS ASKED!

    That’s the Canadian way, too, Tony.

  14. We totally support Tony Clement. We immigrated officially and legally September 2008 out of Belgium so definitely not to find a better life but just to make our son’s dream come true – only because of our age at application (53) and not having a university degree it costed us lots of money to get to Canada. We are however not complaining at all because this is just the way WE wanted it and in the meantime we’re proud to be Canadian citizens since 2012 and living a happy life in Huntsville for about 10 years now – but still there’s a bit of frustration too when we see how easy it is for all these illigal immigrants. As we know how bad the situation in Belgium and actually in all of the European Union countries is right now facing all kinds of illegal immigration, refugees and asylum seekers (officially proven at least 85 % only being economic immigrants) we are convinced that Canada, if going on with their actual policy, will end up with exactly the same bad and hopeless situation. Canadian news in these matters is also pretty much filtered and most of the time you will only get the pitiful stories. Always willing to go into a life open debate on this issue and share our ‘life’ experience.

  15. Let’s not forget that unless Indigenous, we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants here in Canada. Our forefathers were (illegal?) migrants who came here to escape economic hardship in Europe, seeking opportunity and a better life for their families. What we see today is not much different, but now that our place is secure, some of us would have us turn our backs and close our borders to others. The difference between a legal immigrant and a refugee often comes down to how desperate each is. We should not be too quick to turn our backs on the desperate, and our leaders should not be exploiting their situation for political gain. Thank you Nancy for a well written commentary.

  16. Frances Botham on

    Immigrants and asylum claimants. Just the mention of same evokes controversy and negative reaction from all corners. We can throw dialogue at it until infinity and everyone will never agree. We can say that one doesn’t understand it as well as the next. So many experts. Who can we blame? The Tories, the Liberals, the NDP, maybe the Green Party? Of course Canada has a legal responsibility in this issue. There are very succinct government guidelines for dealing with immigrants and asylum seekers. We have a moral obligation to help those in despair who need a helping hand. There should be no question about that. The big problem is finding a balance. In other words where is the money coming from? It is difficult to alleviate human suffering and at the same time equate it to the almighty dollar. Look closely. Right here at home in Huntsville there are seniors who cannot afford to keep their homes because their income is not sufficient to pay the expenses. Also, many seniors do not have enough income to buy sufficient groceries. It’s not a pretty sight to see a senior having to relinquish basic staples at the grocery check out because they don’t have adequate money to pay. Alternative housing is not necessarily a good remedy since waiting time can extend into years. Families are struggling to stay afloat. The affluent usually cannot relate to this. The food banks all across our country are struggling with too many mouths to feed and not enough money or product to fill the need. There are the homeless. Yes, we should help others wanting to settle in Canada, but we have to use all our wits and ingenuity to maintain a reasonable balance when it all boils down to money or lack of it. We need a plan, a reasonable solution. Hard as I search, I cannot see one. Not yet anyway.

  17. edward woolven on

    Seems when you disagree with another’s opinion, you call them racist,,,, unable (or want) to see both sides; brainwashed?
    People crossing Canadian borders from United States where they are safe ; protected by their laws, if in USA legally . Why not join non violent political Party (even if only one) in their home country and work to fix problems.
    Huge burden on Canadian taxpayers when we have so many people in need.
    All qualified political parties in Canada send out flyers.

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