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Canada’s border, the serious issue Ottawa’s too busy to worry about

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Amid the outpouring of verbiage that accompanied Ontario’s recent election, little dealt with refugees.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath had the most forthright plan, proposing to declare Ontario a “sanctuary province,” opening the way to generous benefits for anyone who could manage to find their way here from some less welcoming part of the world. Although it was there in the platform, Horwath didn’t make a fetish of talking about it, perhaps because there were so many other idealistic NDP offerings to dwell on.

Outgoing premier Kathleen Wynne had bigger problems to deal with. Faced with demands from an increasingly agitated Toronto Mayor John Tory over the sudden swell of refugee claimants overwhelming the city’s ability to house them, Wynne pledged to “work with city officials” in the unlikely event she should remain in a position to do so. Doug Ford, the Tory leader who prevented that, had the least to say, as usual, promising to take a real close look and do something, without getting into specifics.

Asylum seekers arrive at temporary housing facilities at the Canadian border crossing in St. Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., on May 9, 2018.

It’s a lesson on one of the great ignored realities of electoral politics: candidates for office, especially those heading parties, seek office on the basis of a platform cobbled together in expectation of a surprise-free future, only to discover, too late, that events won’t wait for them.

As it is, once he is sworn in on Friday, Ford will face a situation to which he has likely given even less thought than he did the many other issues he glossed over with pledges of simple solutions........

© National Post