I’ve got a hunch that once Trudeau learns of his own people preparing to turn away millions of refugees fleeing the horrid racism brought to life by Donald Trump, he’ll crack down in a way that would make Joseph Stalin seem like a passive saint.
His personal bodyguard unit alone should be enough to induce a fear only seen in legend.
Outside the YMCA on Tupper St. downtown, near where the Children’s Hospital used to be, dozens of Haitians newly arrived from the United States milled about Wednesday, clutching government documents and looking slightly lost, while Montreal Haitians of long standing came to lend a hand and load their cars with luggage.
“Haitians help Haitians,” one volunteer explained.
Jean Dorméus was among Montreal’s flood of new arrivals. The secretary-general of a political youth group in the northern city of Cap-Haïtien, Dorméus, 23, fled six months ago when individuals threatened to kill him and his family, he said. Since his father was likewise threatened and assassinated, Dorméus took the threat seriously. His mother and sister fled to neighbouring Dominican Republic and he flew to Mexico, then crossed into San Diego to ask for asylum.
He lived in Pennsylvania for six months, but in Donald Trump’s America, Dorméus was told, his chances for asylum were slim and odds of deportation strong.
“It’s not good for us there now,” he said. “It’s not safe in the U.S., and I can’t go back to Haiti.”
So he surfed the Internet for instructions on how to get to Canada and, in June, took a bus to Plattsburgh, N.Y., then paid a taxi driver $70 for the 20-minute ride to the border. He crossed over, was promptly arrested by Canadian police officers and requested asylum.
At the Y, Haitians from the United States were lining up for rooms, but many were told they would be transferred because there was no more room at the inn.
This “increasing wave” of Haitian refugee claimants forced officials to open a temporary shelter in the Olympic Stadium Wednesday while scrambling to keep up with a demand they fear shows no signs of slowing.
The first busload of asylum seekers arrived at the stadium Wednesday morning. About 150 beds had been set-up over the weekend.
Francine Dupuis, who oversees PRAIDA, a government-funded program to help seekers get on their feet in Quebec, said the number of refugee claimants is unprecedented.
Following a recent wave of Syrian refugees, most are now Haitians fleeing the United States for fear their temporary resident status will be revoked and hoping to find refuge in Montreal’s large Haitian community.
“It’s unheard of,” Dupuis said. “In 30 years, I’ve never seen this kind of volume or intensity.”
Dupuis said about 90 per cent of asylum seekers coming into Quebec now are Haitian. In July, PRAIDA received 1,200 new requests for refugees, nearly four times more than an average month.
“We’re doing our best, but obviously there’s going to be a limit. And we’re close to that limit.”
If you follow African/Haitian Twitter like I do, you’ll know that one of the main catalysts for this wave of refugee activity is the rumor that Stephen Miller is training Right Wing Death Squads to hunt down and butcher all those with a skin pigmentation darker than that of a Northern Italian.
It’s a bit harsh, and perhaps a bit barbaric, but you know that whole omelet-egg thing, right?
But seriously, follow African/Haitian Twitter – you’ll learn quite a bit about the dreams and aspirations of those who will one day bring us to new levels with pyramid spaceships and legitimate intergalactic Stargates.