Hundreds of right-wing activists have opposed Canada's accession to the UN Migration Pact and favorable immigration groups clashed on Saturday in a demonstration in the Ottawa parliament, according to an AFP journalist on the spot.
About 200 members of far-right groups and around 100 counter-revolutionaries exchanged insults on the snow-covered lawn in front of Parliament, in the freezing cold.
Scuffles erupted at the start of the event in the middle of the day, but riot police intervened quickly to separate the two camps and a protester was arrested. The crowd began to sing "to refuse the immigration pact", while the opposing camp shouted "shame" and "the refugees are welcome, the racists return home".
Sylvain Brouillette, spokesperson for the identity movement, said the UN pact threatens national immigration policies – an opinion shared by the conservative opposition leader Andrew Scheer, but strongly denounced by the critics. supporters of the covenant.
"Canada was built on immigration, we learned to live together and we found a way to do it well so we do not need a migration agreement to tell us what to do and change a recipe that works", Brouillette said.
Aditya Rao, a passerby, stopped to listen to the arguments, but concluded that the demonstrators were misguided.
"I can not believe it," he told AFP. "These people complain about all this chaotic migration, but at the same time complain of an effort to make it orderly and secure".
Non-binding, the text should be formally adopted on 10 and 11 December in Marrakech, Morocco.
This "global pact for safe, orderly and regular migration" identifies already existing principles and rights (human rights, children's rights) and formulates 23 objectives to help countries cope with migration, facilitating information, 39, integration of migrants, exchange of skills.
Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Switzerland, Australia, Israel and the Dominican Republic have decided not to surrender to Marrakech.
The United States withdrew from the drafting of the Covenant last December.
For its part, Justin Trudeau intends to sign the agreement proposed by the UN.
"Welcoming people from all over the world through a rigorous immigration system is what has made Canada a strong country, and it's something the world needs more and more," said the Canadian prime minister.