A camp for U.S. border crossers is established near the Quebec border, August 2017. (YouTube)

B.C. VIEWS: Canadian cities begin to declare themselves city-states

Local politicians meddle in immigration, environment issues

It’s the dead of summer. B.C.’s Green-NDP government is taking a break from dressing the province’s economy in worn-out bell bottoms. No trucks loaded with big steel pipe are rolling yet. Even the hardened actors of our many summer tent camps are taking a break from disrupting our energy and housing policy.

The federal government has assured us there is no refugee crisis in Canada, while hastily shuffling the cabinet to create a new department of homeland security, er, Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.

Migrants are pouring across the border from the U.S., mostly at a single rural road crossing from upstate New York into Quebec. They come in taxis, roller suitcases trailing them.

Ottawa has responded with an RCMP reception centre, welfare and hotel rooms, to welcome people clearly briefed on how to cut the legitimate refugee application lineup.

National media don’t explore the obvious human trafficking angle. Instead they quibble about whether the migrants should be called “illegal” or “irregular,” and note with approval that 1,200 crossings in June is fewer than the 2,200 who somehow happened to arrive in May. By that point there were 30,000 awaiting hearings.

B.C. media reported with approval a new policy quietly announced by the Vancouver Police. It’s a “draft” policy that’s already in effect, in which officers don’t ask about the immigration status of witnesses, complainants or victims. City hall came up with this a couple of years ago, and stats show virtually no contact between VPD and immigration authorities since.

It’s called “access without fear” (of deportation). In effect, Vancouver has declared itself a sovereign state and declined to observe federal immigration law, such as it is. Call it Stealth Sanctuary City.

Victoria is likely on the same path. This being a municipal election year, their preferred distractions include pushing Sir John A. Macdonald into the closet and cracking down on plastic bags.

The ban on point-of-sale bags hasn’t spread as quickly as I predicted in January. It’s in effect here in Victoria, but not all of the dozen suburbs have fallen into line.

“We’ve still got a few left,” one store clerk whispered to me as she pulled out a thin rack of plastic bags and slipped one over my awkwardly shaped purchase. “We’ve always used the biodegradable ones, so I’m not sure what the problem was.”

Plastic straw mythology has taken over. We have a federal environment minister incorrectly claiming that restaurants have banned the dreaded straws, and praising kids for using a steel straw that looks like a Ninja murder weapon. This as municipal politicians try to implement provincial environment policy, or at least attract attention by pretending to do so.

Corporations run to the front of the parade to declare plastic straws a biohazard. As with the bag boondoggle, inferior and more greenhouse gas-intensive paper is substituted. This is what rudderless government looks like.

As of July there had been about 450 “irregular” migrant crossings into B.C. so far this year, people sneaking in using a loophole in Canada’s “safe third country” agreement with the U.S.

That doesn’t sound like a lot, but we should remember B.C.’s tradition of being the destination of choice for migration within Canada. That can be measured by the tent camps along major highways.

Local politicians seem determined to pretend the “homeless” are all local, as they discourage any effort to measure the reality of migration. They’d rather regulate the easier things, like plastic bags and drinking straws.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey mayor dissolves public safety committee, creates one for police transition

Locke slams the move, saying who McCallum appoints to the committee will be ‘a very large tell’

Surrey lotto winner plans to spoil his kids

Attila Kelemen won $500K in the Daily Grand draw, held on July 8

Uphill battle for Cloverdale cyclist, 64, and her daughters in Cypress Challenge charity ride

Robyn Wells has lost both of her parents and two uncles to pancreatic cancer

South Surrey mom optimistic changes ahead for recovery homes

Maggie Plett met with Min. Judy Darcy Thursday

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

Most Read