The significant increase in illegal crossings at the Canada-US border is confirmed – at least in Manitoba – in data released Tuesday by Ottawa.
The federal government still refuses to publish historical data on the phenomenon, but the most recent figures show an explosion of cases at the Manitoba border.
Cases of asylum seekers who illegally cross the border between Canada and the United States at this location are therefore not likely to have been exaggerated by the media.
Between January 2017 and February 2017, the number of persons intercepted by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers in this province actually increased from 19 to 142.
For the full year 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) processed a total of 120 refugee claims at land-based entry points in Manitoba.
However, these data include both asylum-seekers who have crossed the border illegally and those who have presented themselves at a port of entry.
Border and migratory authorities in the Prairie province had handled 110 in 2015, 15 in 2014, 25 in 2013, 20 in 2012 and 30 in 2011.
On the Quebec side, it is difficult to draw conclusions on the phenomenon compared to previous years, but there was an increase in interceptions by the RCMP between January and February 2017.
According to data from the federal government, 245 people crossed the border between ports of entry in January. In February, the number rose to 432.
The figures for illegal crossings for previous years are not published for reasons that have not yet been specified by the Ministry of Public Security.
“However, data for January and February 2017 clearly show significant increases,” noted in an email Scott Bardsley, spokesman for Minister Ralph Goodale.
The issue of illegal crossings was discussed during a visit to Ottawa by US Secretary of the Interior John Kelly just over a week ago.
The Government of Canada has so far been reluctant to link the border situation with the election of Donald Trump as President of the country.
At the end of his meeting with his American counterpart, Minister Goodale argued that it was necessary to have a complete picture before drawing conclusions.