Mar 25, 2023
Trudeau Notches Win on US Border Dispute During Biden Visit
(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scored a political win during US President Joe Biden’s visit to Canada, resolving a long-running dispute over migrants crossing the border without having to make significant concessions.
The Canadian leader had been under pressure to renegotiate a border deal that turned back asylum seekers attempting to cross at an official port of entry. Despite the deal, close to 40,000 people entered the country last year via an irregular border crossing known as Roxham Road, located in his home province of Quebec.
On Friday, Trudeau and Biden announced the two countries would now treat all border crossings the same, official or unofficial. In exchange, Canada would agree to take 15,000 more people in through formal channels.
“It’s a great victory,” Quebec’s Premier Francois Legault said at a press conference in Montreal after the announcement. He added the last few months have been “difficult” for community groups and social services, which have been “stretched, too stretched.”
Ahead of Biden’s visit, Legault had told Bloomberg News that if Canada and the US are to have good relations, “we have to settle this matter.”
The border deal was sealed without major concessions from Trudeau on another contentious issue. The US had wanted Canada to take leadership of an international security mission to stabilize Haiti, but Canada declined, saying there must be a political consensus among Haitian leaders first.
Help for Haiti
Instead, Canada announced on Friday it would provide C$100 million ($72.8 million) in further support for Haitian police, such as training and equipment.
Biden told a news conference he understands Canada’s position. “This is a very, very difficult circumstance,” he said about the violent gangs running rampant in Haiti. The best solution is to build up the capacity of Haitian police, even though it will take a long time, he said.
Along with Roxham Road, Quebec got another victory out of Biden’s visit. Trudeau announced Canada signed an agreement with International Business Machines Corp. to expand the capacity of its facility in Bromont, Quebec, to do testing and packaging of semiconductors.
The agreement also pledged to work on further developing the microchip ecosystem in the region, particularly when it comes to workforce development. Overall, Canada will be spending up to C$250 million on spurring more semiconductor investment in the country, according to a government news release.
“There’s going to be growth,” Mukesh Khare, IBM’s general manager of semiconductors, said in an interview about the company’s 800-acre (324-hectare) plant in Bromont. “It’s big numbers. Semiconductors are an expensive process.”
The investments would create a cross-border trade corridor with IBM’s research center in Albany, New York.
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