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Council of Canadians donates supplies for refugees crossing the Manitoba border

The Council of Canadians has donated $200 of supplies for refugees fleeing the United States by crossing the border near Emerson, Manitoba.

The Facebook outreach for this effort noted, “No One Is Illegal-Winnipeg Treaty One Territory is calling for supplies and donations to support border crossers in Manitoba. If you are in Winnipeg, please drop off supplies at University of Winnipeg.”

Winnipeg-based Council of Canadians organizer Brigette DePape says, “We made a donation of winter supplies for refugees who are crossing the border to Emerson Manitoba in dangerous conditions because of unjust American and Canadians laws. Thanks to No One is Illegal-Winnipeg and the University of Winnipeg Students Association for organizing!”

In 2005, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow explained, “The Smart Border Accord includes a Safe Third Country agreement, which requires Canada to turn back refugee claimants who have arrived at our border via the United States. The agreement is ostensibly based on the principle that refugees must claim refuge in the first country they reach as long as that country is ‘safe’ for them.”

The Globe and Mail adds, “Migrants who cross at open fields or other unguarded areas are not covered by the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, and have the right to make a refugee claim in Canada.”

That provision is part of the reason we are seeing an increased number of refugees risking their lives in the cold and snow to cross into Canada unofficially.

The situation refugees are fleeing from in the US is serious.

CNN has reported, “From 2001 to 2015, there were 2,545 anti-Islamic incidents targeting 3,052 Muslims, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Last year, anti-Muslim hate times surged 67 per cent [and] many Muslims believe hate crimes are under-reported by victims and not pursued vigorously by police and prosecutors. This year, the FBI has begun counting anti-Arab incidents as well.”

And Al Jazeera has reported, “The number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the US has nearly tripled since Donald Trump launched his presidential election campaign in 2015. The Southern Poverty Law Center [also] documented nearly 900 hate incidents within the 10 days after Trump’s election on November 8, but noted it was ‘almost certainly a small fraction of the actual number’ because of under-reporting. Many of the perpetrators invoked the president-elect’s name during the incidents, indicating the surge was linked or motivated by his electoral win, the report said.”

The Council of Canadians calls on the Trudeau government to rescind the Safe Third Country agreement, lift the cap of 1,000 applications for privately sponsored refugees which has already been reached this year, fast-track refugee applications approved or nearly completed by the US before Trump’s ban, withdraw C-23, and ensure health care and support for those crossing the border into Canada.

To tell Prime Minister Trudeau to rescind the Safe Third Country agreement, please go to our online action alert here.

For a full list of the supplies that are being collected by No One Is Illegal, please click here.