Sunday, August 09, 2009

Have a good summit

From the Economist:
Mr Calderón is likely to berate Mr Harper over Canada’s sudden decision last month to require Mexicans to obtain visas before travelling to the country. This followed a big increase in the number of Mexicans turning up in Canada and claiming to be refugees. Clamping down on abuses in the immigration system is popular in Canada. But in this case it does nothing to boost economic ties and tourism between supposed partners.
New York Times, "Immigration Fight for Mexico and Canada Is Brewing Ahead of Summit."
Ahead of President Obama’s arrival in Mexico on Sunday night for a summit meeting of North American leaders, immigration was prompting significant behind-the-scenes debate. But it was Mexicans entering Canada, not the United States, that was the contentious issue.

Too many Mexicans, the Canadian government complained, were fraudulently claiming political asylum in Canada, overwhelming the system. So Canada announced last month that it would begin requiring Mexican nationals to secure visas before entering the country, a decision that sparked outrage in Mexico.

The Mexicans struck back with an announcement that Canadian diplomats and government officials would now require visas to enter Mexico.

Although some angry Mexican lawmakers urged President Felipe Calderon to go further and require visas for all Canadian visitors, Mr. Calderon held off, not wanting to further damage Mexico’s tourism industry, which relies heavily on North American visitors.

Aides to Mr. Calderon said he planned to use his one-one-one meeting Sunday with Stephen Harper, Canada’s prime minister, to push Canada to reconsider its decision. No breakthrough was expected, though, with Canadian officials saying beforehand that they did not plan to immediately change the policy.
In other words, we're going to change it at some point. Which underscores the foolishness of the position in the first place. Meanwhile, the Harper gang amazingly peddled a push for a greater co-operative approach on security issues, climate change, etc. going into the summit...they certainly have an interesting way of setting the stage for achieving such co-operation, don't they?