Before Canada’s Parliament last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderón expressed his concern regarding the existence of a visas requirement for Mexicans to travel to Canada. He praised Canada for their tradition of taking in refugees escaping from persecution, discrimination, and other violence and stated that although he respects Canada’s immigration policy he disagrees with the visa measure highlighting a 40% reduction in Mexican tourism to Canada in the past year.
“There are real costs to Canada on implementing a visa,” said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper noting that new requirement for Mexican travelers to have a visa in order to enter Canada is an inadequate control procedure that should be replaced by new immigration policy. In a press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderón the prime minister said that the Canadian Parliament is already analyzing legal reforms in order to solve this problem. He reiterated that the visa was implemented last year due to an increase in false refugee claims by Mexicans citizens.
During Calderóns three-day visit several there were also several initiatives signed by both countries, including a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Youth Mobility, a Joint Action Plan. According to El Universal the MOU is a mechanism that facilitates youth travel and work between both countries for a temporary period of time with the objective of fortifying cultural and professional development. The Canadian government also signed several anti-crime capacity building projects that they will be undertaking in support of Mexico’s efforts to reform its judicial system and fight corruption.