I Thought This Was a Joke, at First

Canada military builds a camp for refugees from the US.

According to [bbc]:

The Canadian military is building a camp to house the growing number of refugees crossing the US border, officials have said.

The camp would house up to 500 asylum seekers in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, near Plattsburgh, New York.

The construction begins about a week after Montreal turned its Olympic Stadium into a shelter for refugees arriving from the US.

More than 3,300 people crossed into Quebec between 1 January and 30 June.

The military-built camp would house hundreds of asylum seekers in heated tents fitted with flooring and electricity while they wait for their refugee applications to be processed, said a statement from the military.

Crazy Canadians!! Don’t you know you’re supposed to build a wall? A yuge wall! The best tallest wall! So the Canadians in Saskatchewan can play walleyball.

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PS: Canada’s really big


  1. Siobhan says

    I find it interesting that we’re doing this. I was under the impression that the barbarous “Safe Third Country” agreement meant that a refugee claimant had to claim status with the “first safe country” they land in. I’m not aware of any motions to terminate the agreement, so did Canadian officials quietly choose to ignore it? Or are they all going to be deported?

    Or are they arguing that the USA is not “safe”? (Which is plausible).

    I would be happy to welcome them, I was just under the impression that doing so would be flouting our treaties. That’s rare for America’s lapdog.

  2. komarov says

    What I found more interesting is the underlying notion that the United States have been reduced from being the promised land, the ultimate goal for refugees, exiles and the downtrodden, to just another thoroughfare on the way there. MAGA indeed.

    “Let’s go to the US. We’ll be save there and can rebuild our lives!”
    – “Actually that’s Canada.”

    If Trump was smart he’d support this trend and make it as easy as possible to travel across the States so all those immigrants can leave the country on the far side a.s.a.p. But the more likely response would be more border patrol, more arrests, more deportations. You could probably sell him the idea of a second (US-controlled) wall on the Canadian border – just tell him it would be another barrier to catch illegals. Never mind these are illegals already to leave, that’s just a minor detail…

  3. AndrewD says

    Siobhan@1 I assumed that Canada was preparing for the US citizens fleeing the coming autocratic tyranny

  4. Siobhan says


    A fanciable assumption. Canada’s one and only principled stand in the past five decades against American stupidity was not entering Iraq. On literally every other disaster we’ve been second fiddle. If the States continue to collapse, I do not anticipate any sacrifice made on the part of my government.

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ 1 Siobhan
    As I understand it the “Safe Third Country” agreement is still in effect. If someone appears at a normal entry point, typically they would be refused entry.

    However these refugees are crossing illegally into Canada. This seems to make them legitimate refugee claimants which I think means that the Cdn Gov’t must treat them as normal claimants.

    The usual approach seems to be to drive or take a bus to somewhere near the border, grab a taxi as close as possible to the actual border and walk across. The RCMP then “arrests’ you and hauls you off to be processed by ???. If there are no RCMP handy you can call them up and have them come get you.

    Once processing is done, various volunteer groups then try to find you some accommodation, etc. I am not sure just how comfortable the Olympic Stadium is but I suppose it’s better than a Montreal street.

    I have been following this casually and at the moment Québec seems to be specializing in Haitians and Manitoba in Somalis. Not exclusively, of course, but those seem to be the majorities in the two provinces. I don’t know what’s happening futher West and in New Brunswick I don’t think the numbers are very high. Newfoundland does not seem to be receiving any refugees.

    The last report on numbers that I heard which was last week was that Québec crossing numbers had jumped from roughly 50/day a few weeks to around 200/day last week and, if the Army is moving in, numbers may be climbing.

    Maclean’s had an interesting article on this in one of their July editions. Hopelessly out of date now but still good. I’m glad my barber subscribes.

    There are enough Haitians arriving in Québec that Haiti has sent a very senior diplomat up this week to help with identity papers, etc. And the Minister of ??? has been down to Québec to discuss cost-sharing, logistics and who knows what with his/her Québec counterpart as Québec has been baring the brunt of the expenses so far. Health care costs alone are likely to be significant let alone housing (well shelter) costs.

  6. Siobhan says


    The RCMP then “arrests’ you and hauls you off to be processed by ???.

    CBSA, as I understand.

    I am not sure just how comfortable the Olympic Stadium is but I suppose it’s better than a Montreal street.

    Well in America they imprison you while your claim is pending, because that’s America’s answer to fucking everything.

  7. jrkrideau says

    @ Marcus
    I was shocked when I heard the first part of a CBC report that said we were sending troops to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle. Had Cabinet gone mad?

    Then, oh, they’re building a camp for refugees. That’s more reasonable.

    Don’t you know you’re supposed to build a wall?

    Build a wall? Are you crazy? Do you know how much walls cost?

    The Canadian Military has a long tradition of getting roped into doing things like this. They have the people and training and often the equipment.

    Last summer as I was cycling back into town on day, military buses were heading the other way heading towards Alberta to become instant firefighters for the Fort McMurry fire.

    This year for the British Columbia fires, we are just importing firefighters from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the USA.

  8. komarov says

    Re: jrkrideau (#7):

    The Canadian Military has a long tradition of getting roped into doing things like this. They have the people and training and often the equipment.

    Sounds good to me. When I was young I just assumed this was what a standing army was for in a country and / or world that is generally at peace: To have a large-ish, well-organised group of people with the training, skills and equipment ready to help out when a) the local group of problem-solvers are overwhelmed or b) there is no dedicated group to deal with the problem you’re having.
    Back then I figured that while a military was technically able to fight a war this was unecessary, almost an archaic use for it. However, the USA have made a tireless effort to correct this perception. I’d ask them to stop but it probably wasn’t done solely for my benefit, which is a bit of a relief.

  9. cartomancer says

    Siobahn, #4

    We in Britain tend to think of you as Third Fiddle at best. Fourth if France is taking part in the atrocity, like it did in Libya and Syria. If the Germans were keener on this whole global Imperialism lark you’d be Fifth.

    I mean, in public we tend to think of the US as Second Fiddle, because we spent most of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries writing the sheet music and acknowledging that we don’t have an Empire anymore makes us break out in hives.

  10. Saad says

    More than 3,300 people crossed into Quebec between 1 January and 30 June.

    Some, I assume, are good people.

  11. jrkrideau says

    @ 10 Saad
    Some, I assume, are good people.
    You are kidding I hope?

    We have a chance to gain all sort of people who have shown real initiative. I believe in many cases we are getting some good professionals and trades.

    Often, we don’t even have to worry much about language training. The Manitoba Somali’s are fleeing Minneapolis. Most should have a minimum of working English, if not total fluency.

    In Québec, there is a good chance that even if many of the arrivals don’t speak English, and they probably will, many have been fairly long-term US residents, they likely were educated in French and, Haitian Creole is petty close to French. Plus we already have a well-established Haitian-Canadian community in Montreal. Come to think of it, Governor-General Michaëlle Jean was a refugee from Haiti.

    I can see it now. Major orientation class for new Haitian and Somali arrivals.
    1. How to identify a Tim Horton’s at 500m
    2. This is a poutine
    3. This is a toque.
    Okay, you’re good to go.

    There will be ‘real’, that is just arrived, refugees from the Middle East, Central America, Africa and so on who will need real support, but most or all of the Haitian and Somali arrivals are not going to find much difference from where they were. No cultural shock, I would think.

  12. Saad says

    jrkrideau, #12

    I was kidding. And now I realize it was a bad joke.

    I didn’t read the article and ignorantly assumed the people being talked about are white Americans.

  13. jrkrideau says

    # 13 Saad
    I…assumed the people being talked about are white Americans.

    No that’s not until next month (I think I’m joking)

    But then, I was joking about setting up refugee camps just after Trump got elected though in that case I did mean Americans. I had not taken Trump & Co.’s xenophobia and racism properly into account.

  14. jrkrideau says

    After seeing and hearing about the terror attack in Charlottesville today that month may just have dropped to next week.

    This reminds me of the French terrorist attack in Nice and the recent one on French solders in Paris.

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