Canadians haven't given a lot of thought to what we should do with migrants crossing the oceans to show up on our shores in boats.
It is something we had better start thinking about because we could be seeing far more of it in the next decade or two.
The Vietnamese boat people fled Communist persecution. The Tamil boat people fled apparent Sri Lankan persecution. The coming waves of boat people might not be political refugees at all but, instead, climate migrants fleeing homelands that have become uninhabitable.
The Americans are coming to realize that it's not just their common border with Mexico that needs to be watched, it's their coastlines too all along the south. So, what does that hold in store for those countries considered best-positioned to endure the throes of climate change, in particular Canada? In 20 years from now Canada might be viewed as paradise to those in many parts of the world who can muster up the money necessary to obtain a spot in the hold of a tramp steamer.
Are we going to follow the current practice and simply let them in no matter how many they turn out to be? What if the Americans decide to dump their migrant problems on us? The Americans will have their hands full dealing with internally displaced Americans from the drought-stricken south and low-lying coastal regions. They won't be interested in greeting masses of climate migrants from Central and South America.
I don't know what the answers are to this vexing problem but my children's generation will have to make some tough decisions. One thing I do know is that it'll be much harder for them to uphold traditional principles that suddenly become vastly more expensive, even threatening.