The Current

Ottawa unlikely to scrap Safe Third Country Agreement with U.S., says immigration expert

The federal government is facing political pressure from the opposition who want to see a long-term plan to address the steady influx of asylum seekers - including a call to scrap the Safe Third Country Agreement.

Concordia University's Mireille Paquet says NAFTA negotiations hamper a possible end to agreement

Opposition parties had an emergency meeting of the Citizenship and Immigration Committee in Ottawa, July 16, for special hearings on the influx of people claiming asylum in Canada. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

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Federal opposition parties are calling on Ottawa to take accountability and devise a long-term strategy for the steady influx of asylum seekers coming into Canada.

The NDP's immigration critic Jenny Kwan has made repeated calls for the government to suspend the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) which would stop forcing asylum seekers from crossing over the border irregularly.

"This will eliminate the dangers that exists for both border communities as well as for the asylum seekers."

The federal government's "knee-jerk reaction" dealing with an influx of asylum seekers is not a strategy, argues NDP MP Jenny Kwan. 0:51

But according to Mireille Paquet, who studies the politics of immigration at Concordia University, it's unlikely the government will scrap this agreement.

"As long as issues regarding NAFTA are still in negotiation, I don't think that Ottawa will make any move in that direction," Paquet told The Current's guest host Duncan McCue.

She added it would send a strong diplomatic message to Washington.

In The Current's discussion on this issue, our guests were:

  • Jenny Kwan, federal NDP's immigration critic and Member of Parliament for Vancouver East.
  • Adam Vaughan, Liberal MP representing Spadina-Fort York.
  • Mireille Paquet, associate professor of political science at Concordia University and author of The Federalization of Immigration. 

Listen to the full discussion near the top of this page.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Richard Raycraft.


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