Mexico and Canada: allies, at a distance: The visa has caused tension but something's missing from the debate

Eva Salinas | November 28, 2014
Earlier this year, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird marked the 70th anniversary of bilateral relations with Mexico by calling the country a “trusted and long-term partner of choice.” A month later, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a state visit to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and the two expanded an air access agreement. But despite official niceties between the two governments, one issue continues to stick out like a sore thumb — Canada’s visa restriction on Mexicans, which the Harper government imposed in 2009.
Since the Canadian government announced the restriction, citing a spike in Mexican refugee claimants and the need to curb the number of people “trying to use the refugee system to jump the immigration queue,” criticism from various sectors and political groups in both Canada and Mexico has been fierce.