Traveling Through Trump’s New World Order

Dear America,

One hour, 29 minutes. That’s how long it’ll take me to travel from Canadian soil to your backyard today. I do not want to go. On the surface, I feel like we’ve grown worlds apart — even though I fear otherwise.

On Saturday, our prime minister responded to your president’s executive orders banning certain citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from traveling to your country by saying we will welcome refugees. On Sunday, more than 150 members of our tech community signed an open letter noting how “diversity is our strength,” and our workweek kicked off with the U.S. consulate in Toronto closed as hundreds gathered to protest your president’s new rules. Part of me is proud of our country’s stance. #WelcomeToCanada has a quaint, dreamlike ring to it, eh? It gels nicely with the image of Ahmed Hussen, who showed up here in the Great White North as a 16-year-old refugee from Somalia. Today he’s our minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship — sworn in just weeks before your new president included Somalia on his executive order.

But, soon, will we face economic threats of the kind our North American sister country (and NAFTA partner) has absorbed south of your border? If penalties are coming, where might they, combined with what some are calling our own failing economic policies (see: carbon tax), lead financially disenfranchised Canucks — especially struggling fisheries workers in the Maritimes and oil-industry employees in the traditionally conservative province of Alberta? Part of me is scared of the domestic backlash our multicultural stance might unleash: What happens if Kellie Leitch successfully taps into undercurrents of racism present in our provinces (see: Québec) and territories as the member of parliament tries to clinch leadership of the Conservative Party in May? Her populist platform includes screening immigrants and refugees for “anti-Canadian” values, and she’s patriotically proud of it…

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– Neil Parmar
Published in OZY