Five people gathered on a Highway 1 overpass 10 kilometres west of Pritchard on Saturday to protest Canada’s plans to sign the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration.
The rally was one of 10 across the country being held to protest the international agreement soon to be signed by 167 countries. Five of the 10 rallies were held in B.C. and others in larger centres like Ottawa and Toronto.
There were three rallies on overpasses in the Lower Mainland, including one at 232nd Street in Langley that attracted about 40 people, including former Christian Heritage leader Ron Gray, who called the UN document a “transfer of sovereignty” to an unelected body with ambitions of being a world government.
Canada is set to become one of about 170 countries to adopt the principles outlined in the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and Sustainable Development Goals, a 36-page document that that will set out, for the first time, an official international framework for countries to work together on the causes and impacts of migration.
United Nations members are scheduled to endorse the compact at a Dec. 10-11 meeting in Morocco.
However, several countries have recently withdrawn support for the document, including Italy, Austria, Poland and Hungary, arguing it will restrict their ability to control immigration.
Concerns from rally participants near Pritchard centred on the idea that the compact will open Canada’s borders and result in a flood of unvetted immigrants into the country.
“These migrants that are coming in are not contributing anything to our country. Basically, they are taking,” said Kathy Woycik, a Celista resident who attended Saturday’s rally and spoke with KTW later that afternoon.
“They are welfare people. They’re getting everything for free. We’re working hard paying taxes while this money is going to them and going to other countries. How much has [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau even invested in Canada in the last three-and-a-half years since he’s been here? None.”
For Canada, one of the key benefits of the agreement will be an opportunity to work with source countries of irregular asylum seekers, who have been crossing into Canada via non-official entry points by the tens of thousands over the last two years.
Woycik, however, said she sees no benefit to the agreement and is concerned terrorists will enter the country.
“Trudeau is not vetting these people. He’s not doing any background checks on them. He’s just bringing them in illegally. He’s bringing these people in. They don’t have a T on their forehead — we don’t know if they’re terrorists and he doesn’t care if they are or not,” she said.
Mariah Fehr, a Pritchard resident at the rally, said she is concerned the media is not adequately covering the compact and has been following the issue through the Canadian Coalition for Responsible Government, which describes itself as a non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to holding all levels of government to account in protecting “Canadian heritage and Canadian values.”
The same organization was behind Saturday’s rallies across the country.
“When we are hearing things about this migration compact and you do just a tiny thread of research on it, you can see that it is not going to go well for us,” Fehr said, adding that she doesn’t know “why the UN is involved in the situation at all,” arguing the pact will “throw open our borders” and lower Canada’s standard of living.
“This just can’t happen. Our rights are being stripped. We are heading for a communist thing here because people are just blindly going along not recognizing that this is going to be a huge disaster for all of us,” she said.
Fehr said Canada will “not survive” the pact and that those coming into the country “know nothing of our Judeo-Christian foundation” and should not be able to vote.
Opposition from the federal Conservatives is being led by leader Andrew Scheer, who argued the compact would pose a threat to Canadian sovereignty — an idea Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said had no merit.
“They’re peddling in a conspiracy theory that’s beneath a mainstream political party that has access to evidence, that has access to testimony from experts who have clearly said this agreement is not a threat to Canadian sovereignty, it will not erase our border,” Hussen said.
Opposition to the pact was also voiced by People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, who was scheduled to speak at Saturday’s rally in Ottawa, but later dropped out after confirming the attendance of far-right, anti-Muslim and neo-Nazi groups.
– with files from Canadian Press and Black Press