COQUITLAM, CANADA — As protests continue over US President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, a simple tweet from Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, highlights the stark contrast between the two countries’ immigration policies.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for the prime’s tweet over the weekend.
As hundreds are stranded in airports and the protests grow, Trudeau reminds everyone that refugees are welcome in Canada — regardless of your faith.
He even followed it with a photo welcoming a young Syrian refugee.
Reactions were plenty, but for Filipino Canadian entrepreneurs Rosette Samaniego and Roy Pagulayan, it was a proud moment to be Canadian.
“We’re very supportive and helpful–and welcoming also–to those who would like to come to Canada,” said Samaniego, owner of Kulinarya Filipino Eatery. “It makes me very proud of our prime minister.”
They add that Trudeau’s stand was “even more admirable, considering how we depend on the US,” as one of Canada’s biggest trading partners.
“Trudeau has to balance between being a friend of the US, and criticizing his stance for this kind of nonsense,” said Pagulayan. “He has to really think about what he’s saying, and yet he stood for it… so bravo, prime minister.”
Immigration consultant Maricel Agustines says its not as easy as Trudeau makes it sound.
There are mixed sentiments over Canada taking in more and more refugees, and questions on whether Canada is really ready for it.
But she says she has witnessed how Canada opens its arms for immigrants, regardless of religion and where they’re from, and to see the US go the opposite way is disappointing.
“We do not just survive, we thrive in this country kasi we’re always given a chance, equal chance,” said Agustines. “It’s very disappointing, kasi hanggang dun pa rin pag-iisip nila, di pa rin nagbabago tingin nila sa ibang tao, perspective nila sa ibang tao aside from themselves.”
Aside from refugees, Canada’s immigration is also open to family sponsorship, skilled workers, students, trade workers, and more.