OTTAWA Since the start of 2017, there s been a marked increase in the number of people arriving in Canada from the U.S. to seek asylum.More than 1,000 people have filed refugee claims at the Quebec-U.S. border since January, compared with about 200 during the same time last year. In Manitoba, at least 107 people have filed asylum claims at the border since January, compared with 45 in the first two months of last year.Some of those claimants entered Canada at official ports of entry formal border crossings where hundreds of thousands of people each year present their travel documents to border officers for inspection before being allowed into the country. What we re seeing now is that people are crossing illegally trying to seek asylum here in Canada, risking life and limb. NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan.READ MORE: Quebec and Prairies see biggest spike in asylum seekers in February What is happening at our border right now is illegal. Conservative MP and leadership candidate Erin O Toole.But hundreds of others entered Canada between those points of entry, trudging over farm fields in blowing snow or picking their way along marked but rocky paths before being intercepted by an RCMP or border security guard.Is that as Kwan, O Toole and others have characterized it illegal?Spoiler alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of no baloney to full of baloney (complete methodology below).This one earns a rating of a little baloney. Here s why.THE FACTSTwo pieces of legislation explicitly govern the entry of foreign nationals into Canada the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or IRPA, and the Customs Act.The Customs Act requires that anyone arriving in Canada enter only at a customs office designated for that purpose that is open for business and present themselves to an office to answer questions.READ MORE: Are asylum seekers queue jumping and other key questionsThat act, however, is broadly understood to focus on the movement of people in relation to goods and the payment of duties; it s the IRPA that governs asylum-seekers.It also says that foreign nationals must appear for an examination to determine whether they have a right to enter the country. That depends on whether they have or are eligible for the appropriate documents a visa, for instance. If they don t, they can be charged, and fined or imprisoned if convicted.But IRPA also contains an exception: anyone who comes into Canada and claims refugee protection can t be charged with any offences under immigration law or certain Criminal Code sections pending disposition of their claim for refugee protection or if refugee protection is conferred. WHAT THE EXPERTS SAYThat exception is the most important element in these cases, suggests Jamie Liew, a refugee law expert at the University of Ottawa. It s reflecting our commitment in international human rights and refugee law that persons fleeing persecution should not be punished for the way in which they flee, i.e. the way in which they may enter other countries borders in order to seek safe haven, she said. This principle has been around for quite some time. The principle is rooted in two international treaties the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says everyone has the right to seek asylum in other countries from persecution, and the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.READ MORE: Ottawa weighing chances of potential surge in U.S. asylum seekers as weather improvesArticle 31 of the convention says states cannot impose penalties on refugees who enter or are present in those states without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence. The vast majority of genuine refugees have no choice but to cross borders irregularly, said Sharry Aiken, an expert in refugee law at Queen s University. The refugee convention was inspired by the realities around the world and the fact that refugees are the one exception that we make when it comes to crossing borders in an illegal manner, Aiken said.WATCH: Emerson fire chief breaks down morning call to rescue 17 asylum seekers
A University of Calgary student says he intends to file an official complaint with Walmart after an encounter with a security guard at the Walmart in Sage Hill.Jean Ventose said the incident happened at around 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23 as he was shopping for headphones at the store in northwest Calgary.Ventose posted a video of the encounter on Facebook, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.In the video, which Ventose said was taken with his phone, a woman who appears to be a store security guard is seen closely following Ventose, who can be heard speaking to her off camera.WATCH: A Calgary man shot this footage at a Walmart he says shows a security guard following him.
VANCOUVER When developer Joo Kim Tiah announced in 2013 that his spiralling skyscraper project in Vancouver would bear Donald Trump s name, the main controversy was whether the glitzy luxury hotel was at odds with the city s reputation as a home of casual yoga-pants-wearing types.A lot has changed since then.Vancouver s Trump International Hotel and Tower has transformed into a potent symbol of Trump s candidacy and presidency, observers say. Protests over U.S. policy inevitably end up on its doorstep and provincial and city politicians have said the Trump name doesn t represent Vancouver.READ MORE: Trump family to attend Vancouver Trump Tower grand opening this month It s more than a beacon of racism, said Coun. Kerry Jang, who has urged the developer to drop the Trump brand. It s a beacon of intolerance. It s a beacon of sexism and bullying. That s just not Vancouver. The $360-million hotel and condominium development, with a unique twisting design by late architect Arthur Erickson, had a soft launch last month. Protests are being planned on social media to greet Trump s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, at the grand opening Feb. 28.Tiah, the president and CEO of Holborn Group, is the son of one of Malaysia s wealthiest businessmen. The Trump Organization does not own the tower, but licensed its name for branding and marketing, while the Trump Hotel Collection operates the 147-room hotel.READ MORE: Vancouver s Trump Tower is officially open for business