The public health dangers during the COVID-19 pandemic are terrifying, so it is not surprising that governments around the world are taking emergency measures to limit its spread, including closing borders for non-citizens.
Canada has become one of many countries to partially or completely close its borders and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced that Canada will no longer consider asylum applications,
We are in an exceptional situation and, as a result, governments are taking extraordinary steps. At the same time, we know that emergency measures can have lasting and devastating consequences.
In Canada, Law on Military Measurespredecessor Emergency law (legislation that Trudeau considered the appeal as part of a government response to the pandemic), was used in three cases: during World War I, World War II and the 1970 FLQ crisis in Quebec. In each of these cases there was widespread support for its adoption, followed by further concern about the scope of its application.
Thousands of internees during the First World War
During the first world war 8579 "enemy aliens" were interned – This term refers to citizens of countries that fought with Canada and live in Canada, as well as hundreds of conscientious objectors.
Nearly 22,000 Japanese Canadians were interned during World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war against imperial Japan. About 75 percent of the internees were Canadian citizens, including 13,000 born in Canada. In accordance with the broad powers of the Law on Military Measures, the federal government confiscated their property, including land, fishing boats and enterprises, and sold it at a discount, using part of the funds to pay for internment expenses.
During crisis flq after the abduction of British diplomat James Cross and the Minister and Minister of Quebec and Deputy Prime Minister Pierre Laporte, the military and police conducted 3,000 searches, detained 497 people, including nationalists and Quebec activists, in order to prosecute the alleged accomplices. Only 62 people have ever been prosecuted.
The consequences of all these excesses were tangible: the Ukrainian Canadians, who made up the bulk of the “enemy aliens” in World War I, fought for decades to be recognized as full citizens; Japanese Canadians sought and received a refund more than four decades after their internment; Rene Levesque and Parti Québecois came to power just six years after the FLQ crisis and almost reached the separatist dream of an independent Quebec in 1980.
And therefore, great responsibility comes with great strength.
This old saying is all the more relevant when you consider how many travel bans were introduced in accordance with national principles: allow citizens to move, but restrict the movement of others.
Citizenship can be exceptional
In efforts to combat the proliferation of COVID-19, lines of responsibility and accountability forcibly transcend citizenship. This is worrisome when you consider that citizenship can be exceptional, especially when it creates a hierarchy of priorities and, apparently, human value.
This means, for example, that refugees and unaccompanied minors were “virtually abandoned” according to NGO workers in Europe,
Over the past few years, Canada has earned international praise for its commitment to relocating refugees, in particular as evidenced by the arrival of 25,000 Syrian refugees over the course of a few short months.
But Trudeau announced that because of these “exceptional times,” a new agreement had been signed with the United States, according to which asylum-seekers crossing the border on foot would return to the United States. This exceptional reaction runs counter to Canada’s obligations to 1951 UN Refugee Convention and a 1985 Supreme Court ruling stating that refugee applicants are entitled to a fair trial ( Singh solution)
Implicit and explicit nationalism, evident in many government responses to COVID-19, including in the Canadian context, does not necessarily “contradict our values,” as some argue.
Rather, some of Canada’s earliest restrictions on migration and mobility were related to people who were “physically inferior,” “demented,” or “suffered from some hideous disease” to use the language Immigration Act 1910, The same act actually banned the migration of blacks to Canada from the United States and the Caribbean on the grounds that they "did not meet the climate or the requirements of Canada."
Chinese immigration ban
Prior to this, the federal government used immigration laws in the form of punitive taxes to exclude Chinese migrants which were considered undesirable, in part because of the common stereotypes that people from China were immoral, dishonest, unclean, prone to disease and never assimilatedThese alleged differences and inefficiencies of the initial income tax have led to almost complete ban on migration from China from 1923 to 1947,
Canada's structurally immigration system – and its subsequent and related border controls – was designed to exclude as much as include. This remains the case today.
How do we navigate our current healthcare problems, he contemplates not only pressing problems, but also what will happen after.
During a pandemic many disturbing stories Asian Canadians are harassed and persecuted due to racist beliefs about who they are and where they come from – a situation exacerbated by the intentional, nationalist and racist desire of US President Donald Trump to give coronavirus ethnic and geographic association,
It is noteworthy that this violence was aimed at people of Asian descent, although this disease was spread by travelers of different nationalities. This distinction reflects light associations of a different kind, which have formed the fundamental exclusive immigration laws and rules and, apparently, continue to resonate in the present.
This is an easy moment to draw a line between us and them, to talk about “our neighbors” and “foreign travelers,” as if they were not the same thing. But the long-term damage can be very large, especially for racified and vulnerable communities that have historically been affected by exceptional migration measures.
The decision to close the border for refugees is extremely ironic in the light of Trudeau in 2018 official apology with the exception of the Canadian government in 1939, Jewish refugees aboard the St. Louis ship.
The past and future should be part of our thinking in the present. And to be clear, this is not the time for nationalism.
Coronavirus: Racism and the Long-Term Impact of Emergency Measures in Canada (2020, March 23)
restored March 23, 2020
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