UPDATE: Embattled Liberal MP apologizes for using photos from U.S. detention camps to attack Conservatives
Update: According to Global News, Adam Vaughan has apologized for his tweets.
“The children of refugees are in profoundly vulnerable situations across the planet and here in Canada. Earlier this week, I criticized the Conservative government of Ontario on this point over Twitter. My tweet, however, in using a picture of refugee children in detention at a U.S. border facility, did the very thing I was criticizing. I should not have used or referenced the plight of those children in the way that I did.”
The Minister of Labour has announced that a $15 minimum wage is part of Canada’s future.
During Question Period on Tuesday, Liberal Minister Filomena Tassi told the House that the government “remains committed” to Canada’s workers, and that a $15 minimum wage is a part of the Liberal Party’s “plan for the future.”
The proposed $15 minimum wage may be an idea inspired by the Wynne government of Ontario, who had planned to raise the wage to $15. The wage was raised to $14, and the newly elected Ford government scrapped plans to raise it to the $15 figure. The sudden raise in the wage led to businesses closing shop, reduced hours for workers, layoffs and increased prices.
the New Democrats also made a $15 minimum wage a cornerstone of their platform in 2019. In a September 2nd Labour Day statement, the NDP stated that “Jagmeet and the NDP are committed to raising the federal minimum wage to $15 right away–and growing that to a living wage.”
It’s a change of tone for the party from back in 2016. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that they would not follow in provincial footsteps to raise minimum wages, at one point even rejecting that raising the federal minimum wage was apart of his governmen’ts economic strategy.
The RCMP intercepted 16,503 people illegally crossing into Canada from the U.S.-Canada border in 2019, according to new federal government data.
The number of people entering Canada via the border at unofficial ports of entry declined in 2019, but the total number of people making asylum claims jumped from 55,040 in 2018 to 63,830 according to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada.
The increase is due to more and more people flying to Canada and then making asylum claims upon arrival at airports across the country.
The Safe Third Country Agreement between America and Canada means asylum seekers are supposed to make refugee claims in the first safe country they enter, but when individuals cross illegally into Canada they are able to bypass the agreement.
The Trudeau government dragged its feet on doing anything significant to address the spike in illegal border crossings, first changing the wording to “irregular border crossings” and accusing critics of stoking xenophobia.
But in the lead-up to the 2019 election, after government internal polling showed the vast majority of Canadians polled didn’t approve of people crossing into Canada illegally, the Liberals promised to change legislation to curb the influx.
The spike in illegal border crossings began around the time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that Canada welcomes those looking to find a new home and when U.S. President Donald Trump was cracking down on illegal immigration in America.
The National Post via an access to information request found that their was a deluge of inquiries across the world to Canadian embassies of people inquiring how to immigrate to Canada after Trudeau’s tweet in early 2017.
According to reports, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen’s briefing notes in December stated their are no formal plans setup with the U.S. to address the loophole to the Safe Third Party Agreement.
The federal government wants to introduce an immigration program in order to let certain cities and areas bring in new immigrants by taking local labour demands into account.
In the electoral campaign the Trudeau government said that they would be introducing the system. The person Prime Minister Trudeau designated for the job is Marco Mendico, a new immigration minister.
The goal of the program is to put some of the decision making abilities in the hands of local communities based on their needs. Trudeau’s mandate letter noted that there will be more than 5,000 spaces created by implementing the new program.
According to CBC, Mendico said that the program helps “to draw on local experiences, expertise, capacities to understand where are the labour shortages, where are the economic opportunities and how that information can help us select individuals who wish to come to Canada to ply their trade, to fulfil their opportunity.”
The current ratio of workers to retirees in Canada is 4:1 according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). By 2035 that ratio is expected to drop to 2:1.
In the past ten years about three quarters of the population growth in Canada has been due to immigration. The IRCC projects that by 2031, this number will rise to 80 percent.
Similar programs have been put forward to bring newcomers into rural areas and Atlantic Canada to fill job positions.
Leah Nord, who works for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce as director of workforce strategies and inclusive growth, noted that there are labour gaps throughout the country. She added that close to 500,000 job positions are not being filled.
Many immigrants end up in Canada’s major cities and this program is meant to bring and keep skilled workers in smaller communities.
Nord told CBC, “One of the greatest ways to ensure immigration integration is a success is to have a job, to have labour market integration,” she added. “And that comes from the employer, from the chambers, from the business point of view. Having them involved in the beginning and making them those liaisons is key to success.”
She explained that a lot of immigrants will be able to “hit the ground running” by having job opportunities when they arrive.
Chief economist of The Conference Board of Canada, Pedro Antunes, mentioned that with ageing populations, immigrants will play a critical role in the labour market in Canada.
Antunes said, “The economic migrants play a big, big role … in helping us grow our workforce at a time when, if not for immigration, we’d actually be seeing a decline in the number of workers in Canada.”
According to the Conference Board, by 2030, the number of baby boomers reaching retirement age will be over nine million.
Mendicino’s mandate letter also says “This continues our modest and responsible increases to immigration, with a focus on welcoming highly skilled people who can help build a stronger Canada.”
Mendico is planning to review outcomes based on data and will be working directly with Canada’s provinces and territories.
Two weeks ago CBC’s The National aired a report on the homeless crisis in Toronto, where the shelter system is currently overwhelmed with people needing a place to stay during the harsh winter nights, with many being turned away because of lack of beds at many locations. The CBC story failed to include any mention of the thousands of refugee claimants who have illegally entered Canada from the U.S. border and sought shelter in Toronto over the past few years that is the major factor in the system being overloaded.
The CBC then repackaged the story and published it on Boxing Day. The story with the major omission became the most popular story on CBC’s website by Thursday afternoon, misinforming the public.
“It’s early morning in Toronto—the biggest, richest city in the country. People go about their business. But there’s a crisis here that most people don’t really want to see. There are more homeless people in Toronto than ever before. And the thing is, do we even notice them anymore? Do we care?” asks CBC journalist Nick Purdon in the long eight-and-a-half-minute segment that doesn’t look at the added cost or demand of the homeless population in Toronto.
“People are dying. Eight homeless people have died in Toronto in the past two months, and winter is just getting started. And that’s why activists are here in front of City Hall demanding the City declare a state of emergency,” Purdon continues, not once mentioning throughout the story why there are more homeless people in Toronto—because there are tens of thousands of migrants coming across the border or entering Canadian airports and making refugee status claims over the past few years.
While doing investigative reporting for True North in the first part of 2019 on the Toronto homeless shelter system, I discovered that the many millions of dollars the City of Toronto spent on accommodations such as hotels, motels, other buildings and multimillion dollar tents were predominantly for refugee claimants, many of whom stay at these locations for six-month periods in order to be eligible for a housing allowance that lasts up to four years, even after finding a job. These types of accommodations are the better part of Toronto’s two-tier shelter system. Some of the older, rundown respite facilities (temporary homeless shelter buildings) and homeless shelters, like Seaton House, were scheduled to be decommissioned years ago but because of the in flux of migrants and the overall homeless population spiking in the past few years they’ve had their doors kept open indefinitely.
But none of this vital context to the homeless shelter system crisis is mentioned in the CBC reports that can only be described as journalistic negligence or malpractice.
“Kevin wants the City to create more shelter beds. The fact is, if you make minimum wage, or collect social assistance, it’s almost impossible to afford an apartment in Toronto nowadays. And so shelters are full,” CBC’s Purdon reported carelessly and unquestioningly.
Never mind that the City of Toronto has already spent tens of millions of more taxpayer dollars into expanding the shelter system over the past few years, or that Canada’s large immigration levels, the burgeoning Airbnb market, foreign homebuyers, government housing subsidies and the in flux of tens of thousands of refugee claimants all are affecting Toronto’s rising house and rent prices.
No, instead CBC journalists would rather show Canadian homeless people devoid of any of this context, say there’s a crisis, and then ask Canadians if they care, implying taxpayers should be doing more; Taxpayer-funded CBC journalist’s mission accomplished.
Credit, where credit is due, though. The CBC did take time to humanize several homeless men, people dehumanized daily by a public that often pretend they don’t exist. However, a journalist’s job is not to tell a story based solely upon emotions, devoid of the most pertinent facts,statistics and context on why this is happening.
Could it also be, despite CBC’s David Cochrane berating CPC MP Pierre Poilievre for suggesting it, that the Canadian economy isn’t all that healthy, so that’s also a partial contributing factor to the homelessness problem in Canada, too?
CBC’s own story on homelessness and the latest atrocious job numbers, despite massive deficit spending by Trudeau’s Liberals, are signs pointing to yes.
But CBC wants to have its poutine and eat it too.
In CBC’s world it’s rarely Liberal government incompetency that is the source of a problem, but stingy Canadians not paying enough money to fix said problem the Liberals did indeed cause.
“The thing is, when people talk about the homeless it’s often in terms of numbers and statistics like the ones above — but the issue really hits home when you meet the people,” wrote Purdon and another CBC journalist in Thursday’s viral piece.
I’ve met many of Toronto’s homeless, foreign and native, through my reporting. It’s definitely an eye-opening experience that is hard to report on because anyone with an ounce of a compassion ends up feeling for all of these people, but no problem is fixed without fully understanding the underlying context of an issue, which is a journalist’s job to understand and explain.
Euphemisms like “irregular border crossers” or CBC reports that gloss over the sources of a problem do nothing to inform the public or make things better. Instead, they allow for the disastrous status quo to go unchecked.
It’s a sad day for journalism when the top comments in the comment section (surprisingly not closed) explain the situation far better than the negligent reporters.