Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to revisit the question I asked the Minister of Public Safety on February 21.
At that time, I raised the matter of the influx of migrants illegally crossing the border into Canada from the United States, an issue that has been directly impacting residents in my riding, particularly those living in border communities like Emerson.
I have raised this issue several more times since then, including with the official opposition critic for immigration, the member for Calgary Nose Hill, to invite the Prime Minister to visit Emerson to see the situation first-hand. The Liberals have taken no action to step in and our invitation has gone without response.
When I asked my question in February, approximately 160 illegal migrants had been intercepted by the RCMP in Manitoba. The provincial total to date is 477, nearly triple the number we saw by the end of February, and that does not even include the month of May. It is June already and we still do not have the May information. The Canadian total at the end of April was a whopping 2,719 illegal crossings. At this rate, we could see 8,000 individuals cross our borders illegally from the United States by the end of the year. These are only the individuals who are intercepted by the RCMP.
These skyrocketing numbers stem from the confusion that the Prime Minister has created. On several occasions, he has tweeted remarks such as “Regardless of who you are or where you come from, there’s always a place for you in Canada.” Many in the media have pointed out just how misleading these statements are.
For example, in an April 3rd piece for the CBC, Graeme Gordon, wrote:
Anyone with the smallest bit of knowledge about the immigration process understands that Canada's doors are anything but wide open, but [the Prime Minister] isn't just blatantly spreading falsehoods by sending that message — he's actually enticing people to uproot their lives, throwing another wrench into an already chaotic immigration system, all based on disingenuous messaging.
He is exactly right. When the Prime Minister places virtue-signalling ahead of good public policy, there are real world consequences. Many Canadians, including myself, want a Canada that helps those fleeing war, violence, or persecution. In light of the dramatic increase in illegal crossings, the Prime Minister had to know these messages, shared the world over, would lead many would-be illegal migrants to believe that Canada's border was just a suggestion.
We recently received the tragic news of a woman who Minnesota authorities said died while attempting to cross the border illegally. I expressed concern about this many months ago; that individuals would choose to enter Canada illegally and dangerously because of the Prime Minister's misleading rhetoric.
There are also security concerns. The head of the union representing Canada's border service officers shared that nearly half of those crossing into Manitoba illegally were being detained because of serious criminal records. Then we learned that a female CBSA officer was assaulted by a male migrant while undertaking her duties. Thankfully she was not seriously injured. We have also seen evidence of human smuggling.
Canada is a generous and accepting country. We have an immigration system that reflects that, but we also need to protect the integrity of our border. With so many people looking to Canada as a land of opportunity, we need to ensure that our immigration and refugee system is consistent and fair for everyone seeking to make Canada their home.
The Prime Minister is still not willing to condemn these illegal border crossings even as the number of instances continues to climb. As with any problem, before it can be solved the person with the power to fix it must admit that the problem exists. Meaningful action from the Liberal government is long overdue. The Prime Minister must step up and show some leadership. Again, what action are the Liberals—