Oh, Canada. In the wake of Donald Trump’s immigration ban, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau sent a hopeful message. Posts across the Canadian PM’s Twitter and Facebook channels seem to welcome anyone affected by the ban. We really hope Justin Trudeau can back up these messages, because we’re big fans of what he’s done so far. Remember that gender-equal cabinet he appointed “because it’s 2015?” Or the time he became the first Canadian prime minister in history to march in the Toronto Pride Parade? Also, let’s just say it like it is: he’s a beautiful man, and the fact that he’s a feminist only makes him more beautiful.
So what did Justin Trudeau actually say?
On the official Justin Trudeau Facebook page, the PM wrote:
“To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength. #WelcomeToCanada.”
It seems like a pretty strong message, right? We all know why he posted these words and this image when he did. And we really, really want to believe that this is just the preface to some actual policy. But the posts don’t actually give us any new information. For example, how many new refugees is Canada willing to take in, and how will they get there?
Strong actions and reactions
Meanwhile, yesterday saw some pretty awesome responses to a terrible situation. Airbnb’s CEO invited travelers left stranded by the ban to contact him directly for free housing arrangements. Americans held demonstrations at airports across the country, and volunteer lawyers turned up to offer their help.
LITERALLY on the ground. Volunteer lawyers are working pro-bono on a Saturday preparing habeus corpus petitions for detainees at JFK. pic.twitter.com/ddUeQBi7AY— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) January 28, 2017
Volunteer lawyers here on the ground in terminal 1 drafting habeas petitions to free detained Iranians and Yemenis. pic.twitter.com/Zyt9csPB2J— Danny Gold (@DGisSERIOUS) January 28, 2017
Apparently, on Saturdays, we protest now. The good news? It sort of worked. A court order issued last night will prevent those currently detained from being immediately deported. It’s not a permanent solution, but it’s something.
What’s next, Canada?
PBS reports, via a Trudeau spokeswoman, that the PM will discuss Canada’s refugee policy (and its successes) with Trump. But will Canada really step in to help out those affected by the immigration ban? We hope so – but it’s definitely complicated. Just look at Trudeau’s response to last weekend’s women’s marches.
Congratulations to the women and men across Canada who came out yesterday to support women's rights. You keep your government inspired.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 22, 2017
Trudeau congratulates the men and women who came out “to support women’s rights,” but we all know that was only one piece of the puzzle.
Later on yesterday, he clarified that Canadian dual citizens with ties to banned countries will be allowed into America if they travel on their Canadian passports.
The Canadian PM is in an awkward position. On the one hand, 75% of Canada’s exports go to America, and the two countries share a border. On the other hand, Justin Trudeau has built his reputation on being progressive and ethical. It’s not an easy moment for diplomacy, but we really hope he makes the right call here.