News Dec 8, 2018 1:40 PM EST

Why "toothless" documents like the UN compact on migration actually matter

While many have been careful to point out the non-binding nature of the pact, they ignore the embedded risk of adopting this document.

Why "toothless" documents like the UN compact on migration actually matter
Ali Taghva Montreal, QC
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The Trudeau government is set to sign the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at an intergovernmental meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, occurring between December 10 and 11, 2018. At this moment over 160 countries have agreed to it while Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, and the United States refused to be a part of the pact. Since the announcement of the pact, leaders worldwide have cried out in vehement support or opposition, noting either the potential capacity for it to bypass the sovereignty of nation-states or on the opposite side, its capacity to foster both fewer and safer migration while lacking an actual binding requirement such as a treaty. In Canada, much of the discussion is the same. For example, to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen the compact on migration "just basically works to enable countries to foster inclusive and cohesive societies by empowering migrants, for example, to become active members of the community."While the leader of the Conservative party of Canada Andrew Scheer,along with some in the media view the pact as an easy way to erode sovereignty.

At the grassroots level, a petition sponsored by PPC leader Maxime Bernier against the compact has garnered over 48,000 signatures.

So which is it? Is the compact on migration good or bad?

While there is a serious discussion to be had about the problems of the document, it is certainly not all bad. According to National Post columnist Andrew Coyne, “it does set out a few basic principles to guide states’ actions, with the aim of not just of facilitating ‘safe, orderly and regular migration,” but ‘reducing the incidence and negative impact of irregular migration.” On top of this, the document aims to help migrants by:

  • Collecting and utilizing accurate data to develop evidence-based policies.
  • Minimizing the factors that drive people from their country of origin.
  • Facilitating fair and ethical recruitment and promote decent work conditions.
  • Strengthening the response to migrant smuggling and stop the trafficking of persons.
  • Providing access to basic services for migrants.

And as Chris Alexander has pointed out, the document is non-binding.

Meaning that if our government wanted to, it could ignore the truly worrying areas. That is the crux of our problem though, there are areas of concern within the document, and ultimately our current or future governments could choose to point at it as a way to push bad ideas forward.For example, the document actually calls for the promotion of "independent, objective and quality reporting of media outlets" by “sensitizing and educating media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology" and perhaps most worrying to Canada encourages de-funding media outlets that promote xenophobia, racism and intolerance toward migrants.

Why is this extremely worrying?

The Liberal government has in the past shown that they are willing to jump the gun and brand their opponents as racists. For example, they have openly called individuals who have raised fair and legitimate questions, such as how do we actually pay for the thousands of individuals coming over, as racists or xenophobes. This divisive language by itself is scary, but becomes a borderline nightmare when you factor in the massive government bailout given to all media companies who follow the Prime Ministers journalistic standards. If the mainstream media becomes addicted to the $600 million in new funds, as I suspect they will, we could be placed in a situation in which the Federal government decides exactly which companies live and die, based on what they view as the right source of journalism.

What could that look like?

Well, a recent report by Blacklock's Reporter could shine a light on that, as the site found that the Trudeau government had set up a “$355,950 sole-sourced contract to pay Torstar Corporation reporters to attend public meetings.”That contract was thankfully cancelled by the Ombudsman, thanks to the fantastic reporting of Blacklock's Reporter. But it does display what the Liberals may consider as news of a “journalistic standard”, and in some twisted fashion shows that if you can't bribe one company through a government contract, you can just attempt to take the entire industry itself. What do you think about the compact? Given its non-binding nature do Canadians have a cause for worry? Are the potential reductions in migration worth the potential re-education and de-funding of media? Join the conversation by commenting below!

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