Demonstrators clash at border crossing over Trudeau's immigration policies
A demonstration held by a self-described “Ultra-Nationalist” group at the Canada- U.S. border crossing took aim at the Trudeau Government’s immigration policies.
But another group, ready to counter-protest, arrived first.
Dozens of activists from Solidarity Across Borders lined the Roxam Road border crossing in Hemmingford hours before members of the Ultra-Nationalist group Storm Alliance arrived.
Last week, the head of Storm Alliance called for a July 1st demonstration. Supported by fellow Nationalist group La Meute, Storm alliance says it aims to defend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and ultimately protect Canadian values.
But their presence—or overall M.O. -- is scrutinized by migrant activist groups, who dismiss their crusade as one that spreads intolerance.
“We refuse to accept that a group of-- essentially—racists can come here and intimidate refugees,” said Jaggi Singh of Solidarity Across Borders.
“Quebec separatists understand that if we don’t unite as a country, we won’t be able to defeat that corrupted government,” Singh added.
One family felt it was important to bring their children to the counter-protest, especially in light of Canada’s ongoing 150th celebrations.
“To know that there’s a group of say, right-wing extremists that are coming here to tell them about Canadian values. Well, I think we don’t share the same values,” said Melissa Pinsonneault-Craig, a resident of Ormstown.
Between January and April, nearly 3500 refugees were picked up by the RCMP near the Canada-U.S. border—the majority of whom cross into Quebec.
The leader of Storm Alliance – Dave Tregget – believes that the number is higher, and presents an issue-in-wait for Canadians.
“What’s happening here is a security issue, and it’s becoming an economic burden on Canadians,” Tregget said.
Storm Alliance said that they are just trying to make sure that any passage into Canada is a legal one.
“Do it the legal way—the way the rest of the people are doing,” Tregget explained. “Stop stretching our police forces. We see our RCMP carrying bags: they’re not porters, they’re cops.”
The RCMP say that two families crossed at Roxham this morning.
Despite the presence of the two conflicting sides, Singh says he was happy that the refugee solidarity group were early risers, on-scene and ready to encourage those beginning a journey in Canada.
“I’m glad one of the first experiences they had as they crossed was a group – us – a raggedy looking group who applauded them and said ‘welcome,’” Singh said.
And at the end of the day, the two sides protested peacefully—no arrests were made.