Baloney Meter: Will Scheer’s ideas to stop asylum seekers at the border work?

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Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer speaks, as Alain Rayes and Candice Bergen listen in, at his shadow cabinet meeting in Winnipeg, Wednesday, September 6, 2017. (John Woods / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

OTTAWA — “It would have a practical consequence on dealing with the problem as it happens. It would also send that much-needed signal to all those in the United States who think that they can just come over and be in a better situation.” — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer on his proposals to stop the flow of asylum seekers across the Canada-U.S. border.

Since January, the RCMP have detained more than 10,000 people who have crossed illegally into Canada, most of them seeking asylum.

The federal Liberals say they have the situation under control, but Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says more needs to be done to stop people from coming, not just manage them once they arrive.

He’s set forward three ideas: designate the two main unofficial crossings they’re using as formal points of entry, apply the Safe Third Country agreement across the entire Canada-U.S. border, as opposed to just at formal border points, or use an existing law to deem those arriving as irregular migrants.

Would any of these options have the impact Scheer says they will?

Spoiler alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney” (complete methodology below).

This one earns a rating of “some baloney” Here’s why.


Emerson, Man., and Lacolle, Que., are the entry points for the vast majority of people who’ve crossed illegally into Canada since January.

It’s an illegal entry, because there are no official customs offices there and Canadian law requires that people seeking entry to Canada present themselves at customs offices. Since they’re seeking asylum, however, they can’t be charged.

If the federal government wanted to deem those two places as formal points of entry, they could turn to section six of the Customs Act.

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