'Toy Pile of Shame': Canadians protest Canada-U.S. refugee policy
Toys and protest signs left outside Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen's constituency office. (Photo: Twitter/Petra Molnar)
Rachel Kelly, Special to CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, June 20, 2018 12:28PM EDT
Canadians are piling toys outside the immigration minister’s constituency office in protest of the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States.
On Wednesday, which marked World Refugee Day, a pile of toys and protest signs appeared on the lawn of Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen’s constituency office in Toronto.
In light of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, protestors are calling on Hussen and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to scrap the Safe Third Country Agreement, which allows Canada to deny refugees asylum if they are crossing from the U.S.
The agreement was established in 2002 as a way for both countries to better manage the flow of refugee claims. It was founded on the ‘safe third country’ principle, under which a country may turn down a refugee application if the applicant has already been granted asylum by another country. Both the U.S. and Canada are permitted to deny refugees asylum if they are entering from the other country.
The U.S. Department of Justice has adopted a zero-tolerance policy in which anyone caught entering the U.S. illegally is criminally prosecuted. Children of these migrants are separated and detained. Recent reports suggest more than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and are being held in shelters.
Critics argue that this policy means the U.S. is no longer safe for refugees and are calling for Canada to allow refugees coming across theU.S. border to stay.
After initially saying that he didn’t want to “play politics” over the U.S. immigration policy, Trudeau told reporters Wednesday that separating child migrants from their parents is “wrong” and “unacceptable.”
“I cannot imagine what the families are going through,” Trudeau said. “This is not the way we do things in Canada.”
Thefederal government has not said how it plans to treat refugees coming from the U.S. going forward.
This is the second #ToyPileofShame this month. On June 8, a similar pile of signs and toys was mounted outside the U.S. Consulate buildingin Toronto.
What it looks like in front of @HonAhmedHussen ‘s office right now. Scrap the Safe Third Country Agreement #WorldRefugeeDay2018 Canada should stop cooperating with the US - it is NOT SAFE for refugees there. #toypileofshame #toystorm pic.twitter.com/0sX1s7AFcq— Karen Chen (@ckaren15) June 20, 2018
Our Liberal government refuses stand for human rights, preferring instead to stroke Trump's ego via their silence. The Liberals should follow the NDP's lead in directly challenging Trump's #ChildrenInCages policy and cancelling the safe third country agreement #toypileofshame— Christo Aivalis (@christoaivalis) June 20, 2018