Saturday, August 08, 2009

Will Canada backtrack on visas for Mexico?

Of note from CP last night and as a follow-up to the Ivison piece yesterday on the Mexican visa situation, the hint of an eventual climb down from the Mexican visa requirement by the Harper government continues as Harper gets set to rumba with Calderon and Obama this weekend. Not that it will happen this weekend though, seems they're just trying to make things easier for Harper as he leaves for Mexico:
"I don't anticipate the lifting of visas at this upcoming summit," said Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas.

"We are reviewing our refugee policies. . . In the short term, I think what's important here is to preserve the integrity of the Canadian immigration system."

But other officials strongly hinted that Canada will drop the visa requirement once the system works faster and is better able to cope with thousands of in-land refugee claimants.

"We could definitely lift visas on a lot more countries - including Mexico and the Czech Republic," said one government official.

"It's not like we enjoy imposing visas on friendly countries
." (emphasis added)
Yeah, come on guys, it's not like this is any fun for the Harper government. Geez.

So we just slap visas on countries when we're trying to fix our own system. With all the attendant diplomatic fallout apparently and never mind the legitimate refugee claims. Nice bit of spin, but it's kind of ridiculous. If they lift the visa requirements, it will be because they made a mistake, not because we need administrative house cleaning of the refugee system. How embarrassing.