Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his team want you to know one thing, there is no immigration crisis.
Sure he has three ministers in charge of the file, recently adding Bill Blair to cabinet in a newly created post, and has established a cabinet level committee dedicated to the issue.
But there is no crisis.
Unless there is.
A letter from Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to the Canadian Bar Association published by National Post shows even the minister acknowledges there are problems when he isn’t in front of a microphone.
“Without changes to improve efficiency and productivity of the asylum process, wait times and backlogs will only continue to grow,” Hussen writes in the Aug. 14 letter, addressed to the Canadian Bar Association. “This situation is not sustainable, nor is it fair to the people who need Canada’s protection.”
How things have changed.
It was just over a month ago that Hussen wrote an op-ed in the Toronto Star saying there were no problems except in the minds of conservative politicians.
“Conservative politicians have been peddling false information to stoke fear when it comes to those seeking asylum in Canada,” Hussen wrote on July 17.
“The fact is that Canada has a strict and efficient immigration and border-control system — one that ensures both compassion for people seeking refuge and protects the safety of Canadians.”
So in public Hussen claims that Canada has an efficient system that is compassionate. In a private letter to Canada’s lawyer lobby group he says it is inefficient, can’t be sustained and is not fair to those in process.
Could it be that the minister is playing politics?
A different view.
On Sunday I discussed this issue with Chris Alexander who served as immigration minister under Stephen Harper from 2013 to 2015.
Alexander said that while the Liberals want to blame everything on the Conservatives, the fact is the wait time to process refugee claimants had shrunk under the Conservatives and has ballooned under the Liberals.
Listen to the interview here.
According to Alexander, when the Conservatives left office at the end of 2015 there were 10,000
“That was too much, we were trying to bring it down,” Alexander said. “Fast forward to March of this year, not now, March, so the numbers have gone up since then, and the number is over 50,000.”
Alexander points out that the numbers have quintupled in just over 2 years. Were that to happen again the backlog would be 250,000 int he backlog.
The former minister told me that while Trudeau has spent wildly on the more than 33,000 people that have crossed into Canada illegally, he hasn’t boosted spending for the refugee board that hears cases.
Listen to the whole interview above and share it on Facebook. Canadians need to hear from someone that used to run the system how bad things really are now.