Archive for the “Canada” Category

LA Slimes

WASHINGTON — The man from Arlington, Texas, could barely contain his smirk as he looked into a computer video camera to pose a question of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Paul’s followers talk about such conspiracy theories as “merging the United States with Canada and Mexico . . .,” the questioner said in a YouTube video shown during the Wednesday debate. “Do you really believe in all this?”

Paul did not miss a beat. The Texas congressman coolly raised the specter of a dire new national threat — an as-yet unbuilt superhighway.

A border-spanning “NAFTA highway” now on the drawing board, Paul said, would link the U.S., Mexico and Canada, worsening illegal immigration and threatening American independence. “Our national sovereignty is under threat,” Paul warned.

Federal and state highway and trade officials and transportation consultants reacted Thursday with befuddlement and amusement. The fearsome secret international highway project Paul described does not exist, they said.

“There is no such superhighway like the one he’s talking about,” said Ian Grossman, a spokesman with the Federal Highway Administration. “It doesn’t exist, in plans or anywhere else.”

“It’s complete fiction,” said Tiffany Melvin, executive director of NASCO, a consortium of transportation agencies and business interests caught in the cross hairs of anti-highway activists. “This is the work of fringe groups that have wrapped a couple of separate projects together into one big paranoid fantasy.”

A loose confederation of conservative Internet bloggers and some right-wing groups, among them the John Birch Society, has seized on a burst of activity in federal highway projects in recent years as evidence that the Bush administration is pushing toward a European Union-style government for North America.

The problem, public officials said Thursday, is that the new emphasis on highway construction reflects a growing concern about renewing the crumbling U.S. road system, not a secret extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“These whispers have been around in some form or another ever since NAFTA was signed,” said Grossman, who pointed out that numerous U.S. highways already are connected to Mexican and Canadian thoroughfares.

Paul took up the issue in recent years, sounding alarms in the Congressional Record after activists rallied against a $1- billion Texas project that aimed to build a privately financed highway corridor from the border with Mexico to the Oklahoma state line.

“The ultimate goal is not simply a superhighway,” Paul wrote to his constituents in October 2006, “but an integrated North American Union — complete with a currency, a cross-national bureaucracy, and virtually borderless travel within the Union.”

During the Wednesday debate, Paul also linked the purported NAFTA highway to his concerns about the Trilateral Commission — an enduring bugaboo of conspiracy theorists — and the World Trade Organization’s “control [of ] our drug industry, our nutritional products.” Paul added: “I don’t like big government in Washington, so I don’t like this trend toward international government.”

Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign spokesman, said Thursday that Paul believed that the threat of a NAFTA highway was real. “Dr. Paul is not alone in thinking this is a substantial compromise of federal sovereignty,” Benton said. “There’s a strong belief by a lot of people that [the highway] would run clear up through Canada.”

Benton noted that Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R-Va.) had introduced a resolution expressing opposition to a NAFTA superhighway. It is signed by 42 congressmen, including Paul and two of his Republican presidential rivals, Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Tom Tancredo of Colorado.

In Texas, Benton added, legislators voted to withhold funding from the project linking Mexico to Oklahoma, known as the Trans-Texas Corridor, despite Gov. Rick Perry’s support. But with much of the $1-billion project expected to be defrayed by private developers, the effort is moving forward, said Coby Chase of the Texas Department of Transportation.

The anti-highway movement has surged from a Texas-based group,, to old-line groups like the Birch Society and to Jerome Corsi, a conservative author who aided the Swift boat targeting of Sen. John F. Kerry during the 2004 campaign.

As alarms about NAFTA’s illusory highway have spread across the Web, the issue’s whiff of paranoia has ignited sparks of humor. Comedy Central mock commentator Stephen Colbert took up the issue earlier this year, saying the highway plan was real “because I got it from the Internet.” He added that “it’s a plan to make Canada, the U.S. and Mexico one country and force us to eat moose tacos.”

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AZ StarNet

Burlington, VT (AP) — A human smuggling operation based in Toronto and another in Montreal moved hundreds of immigrants into the U.S., with some paying $10,000 apiece, American prosecutors said Wednesday in announcing indictments against the groups.

Most of the illegal border crossings took place on foot in a stretch the U.S. Border Patrol considers a prime area for smuggling because of its proximity to interstate highways that make it easy to move people once they’re in the country, said Thomas Anderson, U.S. attorney for Vermont.

One of the groups, apparently working with recruiters in South Korea, would meet immigrants at the Toronto airport and take them to safe houses, then send them with guides or drop them near the border with instructions to meet drivers on the U.S. side, according to one of the indictments.

Anderson estimated the groups had brought hundreds of people into the U.S. from South Korea, Pakistan, India and Central America since 2004, though he did not have a specific figure. Some of those people paid as much as $10,000 for the smugglers’ services, he said.

Officials said that some of the people brought into the United States had previous criminal records in this country, and that others were vulnerable to being preyed upon by the smugglers.

‘Oftentimes, these people who are smuggled into the United States are indebted to these people for a very long time,’ said Bruce Foucart, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

A federal grand jury in Vermont indicted the Toronto group in September and the Montreal group in October; the Toronto charges were sealed until Wednesday. Alien smuggling, the most serious charge, carries a sentence of as many as 15 years in prison upon conviction.

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An insider who presented a paper at a recent North American Forum meeting in Mexico is concluding that the Security and Prosperity Partnership plan has failed.

“The Security and Prosperity Partnership is dead,” reporter John Ibbitson of Canada’s Globe and Mail told WND in a telephone interview.

Ibbitson, who was invited to present a paper at the meeting because he is a strong proponent of increased international trade, especially between Canada and the United States, said he believes public exposure has stalled SPP efforts.

Others disagree with his conclusion, but they do agree that the public’s awareness of the program and some of its features will trigger changes.

“The opposition in all three countries has exposed the SPP North American integration agenda,” wrote Stuart Trew, a researcher and writer for the Council of Canadians. “But it is not fair to say the SPP has died altogether.”

He said the SPP “as an over-arching project may have suffered from being exposed, but progress in North American integration will continue in many different areas of public policy as long as the trilateral working groups remain in place and the bureaucrats from the three nations keep meeting.?

WND has obtained a copy of the North American Forum’s secretive annual meeting on “North American Cooperation and Community,” held this year in Mexico from Oct. 12-14.

Read more.

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Stephen Jarislowsky, a billionaire money manager and investor the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail bills as the Canadian Warren Buffet, has told a parliamentary committee Canada and the United States both should abandon their national dollar currencies and move to a regional North American currency as soon as possible.

“I think we have to really seriously start thinking of the model of a continental currency just like Europe,” Jarislowsky told the Canadian House of Commons’ finance committee, according to the Globe and Mail in Toronto.

Jarislowsky insisted Canada was going to be forced to do something because the increased value of the Canadian dollar vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar was likely to depress business activity in Canada and cause a recession.

“Two-thirds of the Canadian economy is tied to the U.S. economy,” Jarislowsky pointed out. “Some 85 percent of our exports are headed for the U.S. market. Our economy is tied to the U.S. dollar, whether we like it or not.”

In an interview published with the Globe and Mail, Jarislowsky emphasized the likely adverse impact on the Canadian economy triggered by the rise in the value of the Canadian dollar.

“We don’t have a single mill in Canada which isn’t losing cash at the current exchange rate despite the fact we invested hundreds of millions in dollars into new equipment when we had the money,” Jarislowsky said.

“I believe that if we stay at the present levels, the entire forest products industry practically is going to be in liquidation-bankruptcy and there’s going to be an enormous loss of employment,” he continued.

Jarislowsky told the House of Commons finance committee that a regional North American currency would reduce the adverse currency exchange risk being experienced in Canada since the Canadian dollar has risen more than 20 percent against the U.S. dollar this year.

Jarislowsky brushed aside stated opposition from the Canadian Finance Department, including a negative recommendation to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty because of concerns a common North American currency would mean an erosion of sovereignty for Canada.

“I know Finance Minister Flaherty quite well,” Jarislowsky told WND. “Sure, first he will have to deny he is taking seriously the idea of a new currency, then later he will come out and say he was forced to create one anyway.”

Jarislowsky insisted he made very seriously the suggestion to create a euro-style currency for North America.

“Pretty soon, the Finance Ministry will have no choice but to create a new currency,” Jarislowsky argued, “unless the Canadian dollar all of a sudden changes course and reverses against the U.S. dollar all on its own.”

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Most of the traffic is local and legal. But smugglers â?? going north and south â?? know the roads are unguarded. In August, a Border Patrol agent had to fire his weapon at a car he stopped not far from Blair Road that had tried to run him down before fleeing back into Quebec.

‘There’s a lot more going on out here than people realize,’ said U.S. Border Patrol Supervisor Bradley Curtis.

Tests show flaws

There are about a dozen similar unmarked back roads between Vermont and Quebec and many more across the 3,987-mile U.S.-Canada border. At a time when the United States is trying to secure its borders against illegal immigrants and potential terrorists, some see the challenges as a direct threat to national security.

The Government Accountability Office recently released a report in Washington about the security of the U.S.-Canada border.

As part of some of the tests, investigators carried a red duffel bag across the border simulating radioactive material that could be brought into the U.S. by a terrorist.

In others, they walked back and forth across the border where roads in the U.S. and Canada were only separated by a few feet, but they weren’t approached by Border Patrol agents.

‘That border is so long, frankly, the security on that border has really not increased too much since the French and Indian War,’ John Cooney, the GAO’s assistant director for forensic audits and special investigations, said Sept. 27 during testimony in Washington before the Senate Finance Committee.

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Canadian activists are demanding Prime Minister Stephen Harper fulfill a promise and submit the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America to a national referendum for an up or down vote.

“The Prime Minister of Canada and his cabinet in both Liberal and Conservative regimes support the unification of North America as witnessed by the fact of [former Prime Minister] Paul Martin and [current Prime Minister] Stephen Harper being signatories to the SPP process,” said Connie Fogal, leader of the Canadian Action Party.

Fogal rejects the idea that the vote on SPP should be taken solely in the Canadian Parliament.

“A decision about the restructuring of Canada into an integrated North America is not a decision for parliament, but for the citizens of Canada,” Fogal says. “What every Parliamentarian should do is call for a no confidence vote on this issue to cease unification of Canada, the USA and Mexico, and then run a campaign on the life of Canada not its death.”

Maude Barlow, the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, agrees.

“So far, only 30 CEOs from North America’s richest corporations, including Lockheed Martin, Bank of Nova Scotia, Chevron, Power Corporation and Merck, have had any meaningful input,” a news release on Barlow’s website proclaims. “Only they have been invited to annual closed-door meetings of SPP leaders and ministers, such as the one that took place in Montebello, Quebec, in August.”

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SEATTLE — A problem in Canada’s hospitals is sending scores of pregnant women south of the border to have their babies.

Carri Ash of Chilliwack, B.C. was sent to the U.S. to have her baby after her water broke on Sunday, ten weeks ahead of schedule.

“And they came in and said ‘you’re going to Seattle,’” she said.

Ash’s hospital couldn’t handle the high-risk pregnancy. Doctors searched for another hospital bed, but even hospitals in Vancouver, B.C. didn’t have a neo-natal bed.

“So two provinces didn’t have enough room, so I have to go to another country,” said Ash.

Ash was sent to Swedish Medical Center where, nurses told KOMO 4 News, five Canadian women have come to have their babies in the past six weeks. Some were even airlifted at up to $5,000 per flight.

And a woman from Calgary, one of the wealthiest cities in Canada, had to travel to Montana to give birth to her identical quadruplets.

Read more.

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A terrorist wanting to smuggle radioactive material from Canada into the United States probably would find it easy to do, a new report from congressional investigators said.

Government investigators were able to cross from Canada into the United States carrying a duffle bag with contents that looked like radioactive material and never encountered a law enforcement official, according to a report released Thursday by investigators from the Government Accountability Office.

“Our work clearly shows substantial vulnerabilities in the northern border to terrorist or criminals entering the United States undetected,” the GAO’s Greg Kutz testified Thursday at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the topic.

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“We are being inundated with them,” said Maj. Wilfred Harbin, Salvation Army administrator. Like others in the city, he has heard that up to 7,000 Mexicans seeking refugee status could be headed this way.

“What are we going to do with them? We’re running out of beds.”

Manuel Ortega, right, and other Mexican nationals seeking refugee status in Canada gather outside their rooms at the Devonshire Motel for a discussion Tuesday. The group has been in Windsor for one to two weeks and hope for placement in homes in the very near future.

Mexicans Pour Into Canada From US
Banderas News
September 2007, 2007

For 15 years, Manuel Ortega was living his version of the American Dream in Florida.

He had steady employment, sometimes working as a detailer for local car dealers, other times as a forklift driver. He earned enough to buy a van and rent a house for his wife and three children. His kids earned good grades in school and played with the family pet, a Shih Tzu named Chaparro (Shorty). They were safe and kept out of trouble.

Ortega’s dream, as he recounted it Tuesday standing outside a room at a Windsor motel, is now but a memory. He is one of an estimated 180 Mexicans from Florida who’ve rushed across the border and into Windsor to claim refugee status, fleeing a crackdown on illegal aliens in Florida.

Local agencies that work with refugees have been told to brace for 4,000 to 8,000 refugee claimants.

Every single day this month, Mexican nationals who have been living illegally in Florida - some for a dozen years or more - are turning up at the Windsor-Detroit border seeking refugee status. The first group arrived at the YMCA on Aug. 28.

“They’ve been coming steadily ever since,” said Jacquie Rumiel, director of programs for new Canadians at the YMCA.

The Ortegas left Naples, Fla. and say all they ask for in Canada is “a chance,” said the father.

“Give us a chance to show what kind of people we are,” the 39-year-old said. “We don’t be afraid to work. We don’t be afraid to start again. We need the chance, please, to do that.”

Ortega said his fear of being deported to Mexico intensified within the past three months as immigration officials became more visible on the streets and the incidents of deportation of his acquaintances increased.

When his American neighbour threatened to report him to authorities, he told his family to pack-up. They simply couldn’t risk returning to Mexico, where he says he fears the powerful drug cartels, corrupt government and poor living conditions.

“We don’t have a future in Mexico,” Ortega’s 36-year-old wife said, noting her brother and his family also fled to Windsor fearing deportation. “We can’t go back.”

To read entire article click here.

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The Canadian

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was one of the first of the “free trade” policies to use the concept of so-called public-private partnerships as a major tool to drive policy.

The program was sold simply as a means to expand markets for industry and agriculture beyond national borders, thereby offering American (and Canadian) businesses and workers “better jobs, better wages and more exports.”

However, NAFTA is not unencumbered trade. It represents truckloads of regulations. And there is no question that NAFTA regulations and guidelines are creating great change in the economic order of our nation.

NAFTA comes with its own tribunal overseers; its own courts; and its own set of rules - all of which can, in fact, override laws passed by local, state and federal governments. Such a policy is not “free trade,” rather it is a new government structure - reinvented, indeed.

Here is how Henry Kissinger described NAFTA in July, 1993:

“It will represent the most creative step toward a new world order taken by any group of countries since the end of the Cold War, and the first step toward an even larger vision of a free-trade zone for the entire Western Hemisphere. [NAFTA] is not a conventional trade agreement, but the architecture of a new international system.”

NAFTA, under close examination appears to be little more than a redistribution of the wealth scheme. Commercially profiting from it are a few select corporations, which get wealthy in their elite partnerships with government, while jobs are ‘outsourced’.

NAFTA continues to be highly touted by “free traders” as a success. Thirteen years after its inception there are now more calls for similar programs to cover South America, Central America, Africa and Asia. The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) is designed to further enhance and strengthen the NAFTA concept over North America.

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President avoids question, ridicules ‘conspiracy theorists’ who believe it.

Harper said the SPP discussions that were held concerned such pressing issues as jelly beans.


When it came time for a question from a Fox News reporter, Bush was asked if he would be willing to categorically deny that there is a plan to create a North American Union, or that there are plans to create NAFTA Superhighways.

“As you three leaders meet here, there are a growing number of people in each of your countries who have expressed concern about the Security and Prosperity Partnership. This is addressed to all three of you. Can you say today that this is not a prelude to a North American Union, similar to a European Union? Are there plans to build some kind of superhighway connecting all three countries? And do you believe all of these theories about a possible erosion of national identity stem from a lack of transparency from this partnership?” was the question, according to a White House transcript.

Reporters at the news conference said he sidestepped, instead adopting the tactic that those who are arguing the European Union model of integrating nations into a larger continental union is being used in North America should be ridiculed.

He called it an old political scare tactic, to try to create a wild conspiracy and then demand that those who “are not engaged” prove that it isn’t happening.

Bush’s answer was:

“We represent three great nations. We each respect each other’s sovereignty. You know, there are some who would like to frighten our fellow citizens into believing that relations between us are harmful for our respective peoples. I just believe they’re wrong. I believe it’s in our interest to trade; I believe it’s in our interest to dialogue; I believe it’s in our interest to work out common problems for the good of our people.

“And I’m amused by some of the speculation, some of the old â?? you can call them political scare tactics. If you’ve been in politics as long as I have, you get used to that kind of technique where you lay out a conspiracy and then force people to try to prove it doesn’t exist. That’s just the way some people operate. I’m here representing my nation. I feel strongly that the United States is a force for good, and I feel strongly that by working with our neighbors we can a stronger force for good.

“So I appreciate that question. I’m amused by the difference between what actually takes place in the meetings and what some are trying to say takes place. It’s quite comical, actually, when you realize the difference between reality and what some people are talking on TV about.”

Harper joined in. There’s not going to be any NAFTA Superhighway connecting the three nations, he said, and it’s “not going to go interplanetary either,” he said.

Harper said the SPP discussions that were held concerned such pressing issues as jelly beans.

Read more.

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MDJ Online

WASHINGTON - Cobb Congressmen Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) and Tom Price (R-Roswell) have joined 20 other U.S. House members in urging President Bush to oppose a partnership with Mexico and Canada that some fear could lead to a North American Union.

Earlier this month, Gingrey and Price signed a two-page letter to the president outlining concerns that Congress has about the Security and Prosperity Partnership, or SPP, Bush launched with Canada and Mexico in 2005.

“The SPP process … is being conducted in a secretive manner with a view to ‘harmonizing’ U.S., Canadian and Mexican policies, regulations and practices in ways that may actually undermine our security and sovereignty,” the letter states.

Critics say the Bush initiative includes measures that would make it easier to move goods and people across borders and could weaken the country’s ability to secure its borders and curb illegal immigration.

House members called on Bush “not to pledge any further movement in connection with the SPP at the upcoming North American Leaders Summit,” which begins today in Montebello, Canada, and involves Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican president Felipe Calderon.

Among items slated for discussion is ways to advance the SPP.

“In the interest of transparency and accountability, we urge you to bring to the Congress whatever provisions have already been agreed upon and those now being pursued as part of the initiative (to obtain) authorization through the normal legislative process,” the letter states.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-East Cobb), a leading proponent for border security in the Senate, also opposes the partnership.

“The United States for over 220 years has enjoyed the freedoms and responsibilities of an independent nation. To allow our country to participate in a rumored ‘North American Union’ would take away our sovereignty and place an undue burden on the citizens of America, Isakson said.

“It would be a terrible mistake for the U.S. government to engage in any proposal that would diminish our independence or lessen our strength. I wholeheartedly oppose any such effort.”

To bolster public scrutiny of the little known “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America,” leading east Cobb border security activist D.A. King has planned a rally at noon today in the Rotunda of the state Capitol in Atlanta.

King plans to outline potential threats to American sovereignty involved in the virtually unpublicized executive branch initiative. The rally is timed to coincide with Monday and Tuesday’s North American Leaders Summit.

“The true intent and lack of transparency and accountability concerning the SPP should be a matter of great concern to all Americans and those in the media, King said.

“The SPP seems to closely follow the 2005 Council on Foreign Relations report titled, ‘Building a North American Community,’ which makes recommendations that include combining the Social Security systems of the U.S. and Mexico, and creating a common security perimeter around North America within which people would flow freely between the three nations - essentially integrated nations and open borders.”

King also plans to announce formation of “Americans for Sovereignty,” a recently incorporated Georgia-based national organization aimed at educating the public about consequences of the SPP and attempts to create an arrangement in North America similar to the European Union.

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MONTEBELLO, Quebec â?? President Bush, tending to relations with two border nations, sought Monday to invigorate his partnership with like-minded leaders of Canada and Mexico.

Bush arrived by mid-afternoon in the Canadian countryside, where he will promote North American integration with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Police in riot gear pushed back dozens of protesters marching just outside the gate of the resort compound, where a few hundred people gathered in demonstration.

“I heard it’s nothing,” Harper said, dismissing the protests as Bush arrived at the posh Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. Bush ducked a question about it and just smiled.

The two-day summit is the third of its kind during Bush’s presidency, and each one has been meant to bolster a compact â?? dubbed the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America â?? that serves as a way for the nations to team up on health, security and commerce.

The partnership of the countries is a framework for working out problems â?? not a deal that was ever intended to produce dramatic announcements. In turn, the White House sought to lower expectations that something bold would emerge from the meetings.

“I don’t expect any major announcements,” Bush spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. “I think it’s a continuance of discussions that we have regularly with our two closest neighbors.”

For Bush, the event also allows him to show that he does not take his neighbors for granted; they are both vital trading partners and energy providers for the U.S.

“The message for Canada and Mexico is that despite the ongoing emphasis on Iraq and terrorism in U.S. foreign policy … the U.S. is investing time and attention on relationships with our own region,” said Chris Sands, a scholar of North American studies and senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Read more.

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The Star

Manuel Lanveros could have come to Canada through normal immigration channels as a skilled immigrant.

Instead, the Mexican citizen simply hopped on a plane and asked for refugee asylum here because, he says, he couldn’t afford to risk his life on the two-year wait.

An architect with 15 years of experience, Lanveros represents a new wave of Mexican refugees who contradict the desperate day-labourer stereotype: educated, upper-middle-class professionals who claim corrupt authorities are failing to protect them from drug cartels, abusive spouses or gay bashers.

According to the Immigration and Refugee Board, Mexican asylum claims have skyrocketed in a decade, from fewer than 1,000 a year to 5,000. For the past two years, Mexico has been Canada’s top source country for refugee claims.

With the defeat this spring of a U.S. immigration bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants â?? and the increasing hostility of many Americans â?? observers worry that Mexicans hoping for a safe haven will instead file claims in Canada.

Francisco Rico-Martinez, of the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) Refugee Centre, says 85 per cent of the advocacy group’s clients are now Mexicans. As many as 15 new cases arrive at his door each week.

“My concern is we’re going to be swarmed by Mexicans in the U.S. who don’t have status there and can come to the border because they don’t need a visa to come to Canada,” says Rico-Martinez, himself a refugee from El Salvador. “We’re starting to get calls from Mexicans in the States, five to six a week, hoping to file refugee (claims) in Canada. But we may not even know half of the Mexicans here who are without status, because they don’t need visas to come.”

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The number of Americans admitted to Canada last year reached a 30-year high, with a 20 per cent increase over the previous year and nearly double the number that arrived in 2000.

The results of a survey, conducted by the Association for Canadian Studies, also revealed that the so-called “brain drain” of Canada appears to be narrowing.

The survey found that 10,942 Americans came to Canada in 2006, compared to just over 9,262 in 2005. In 2000, 5,828 came to the country.

While twice as many Canadians went to the States than Americans came to Canada, that ratio diminished between 2005 and 2006.

In 2006, 23,913 Canadians went to the U.S., resulting in a net loss of 12,971 to Canada when compared to the Americans coming to Canada.

But in 2005, the net loss to Canada was 14,668.

“When looking at the differences over the past few years in the real numbers between the two countries, Canada is undoubtedly narrowing the brain drain,” the study said.

The most educated immigrant group comes from the U.S, with nearly half possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher, the study found.

Ontario was the most popular destination for Americans, followed by B.C. and Quebec.

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