Immigration Is Key to Mexico's interest in Canada's Election

By Kausha Luna on October 19, 2015

In 2009 Canada, under the Conservative Party, imposed a tourist visa requirement for Mexicans and thus "damaged" its relationship with Mexico. Canada's national elections today could be a turning point in that relationship.

This year's Canadian election could mean the end of a decade-long rule of the Conservative Party. Trying to interrupt the pattern, the Liberal Party candidate for Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, promises, among other things, to do away with the visa requirement for Mexican tourists. Trudeau proposes that citizens of both countries should be able to move freely and without obstacles given they are both signatories of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Additionally, Trudeau recognizes Mexico as a source of legitimate refugees, which Canada ought to receive. An unobstructed flow of Mexican migrants, as proposed by Trudeau, ought to be of concern to the United States — already struggling to secure the southern border.

Conversely, Stephen Harper is defending his current position as Prime Minister. Harper has campaigned for the strengthening of borders and the immigration system. Prime Minister Harper has stated the government does not want immigrants taking jobs from unemployed Canadians, and has defended the four-year limit for short-term foreign workers. Canada has experienced problems with this program, as these "temporary" workers have overstayed their welcome. (Sound familiar?) However, Harper argues Canada should provide a path to citizenship for long-term foreign workers, so as to avoid a permanent underclass without citizenship.

Today's elections are expected to be the closest in Canada's history. But by tomorrow we should know whether Mexico and Canada will be on good terms again, at least in the context of migration issues.

Topics: Canada, Mexico