Following the executive order by the U.S. president Donald Trump that temporarily bans seven predominantly-Muslim countries from entrance to America, Ontario premier, Kathleen Wynne, said in an interview with The Medium that it is “antithetical” to the Canadian society, and that Canada will continue to welcome people.
“I’ll continue to make it clear that Ontario is an open society and that we—apart from our Indigenous people—we all came from somewhere else, and we’ll continue to welcome people to Ontario,” said Wynne, reciting that Canada had welcomed 17,000 Syrian refugees last year and another 4,000 refugees from different countries.
Universities across Canada and America have also reacted to Trump’s executive order. The University of Toronto, Universities Canada, the Association of American Universities, and the Canadian Tech Community have all released statements concerned with the ban.
In a public statement released online, U of T’s president Meric Gertler stated that U of T is working along with Universities Canada to show their support for international students and scholars across Canada who could be affected by the order.
“The strength of research and teaching at the University of Toronto has always been based upon our ability to welcome the most talented individuals from around the world, and the freedom of our faculty and students to travel abroad for purposes of scholarship and study,” he said.
In an email to The Medium, UTM interim-principal Ulrich Krull stated that extremism is a perpetual issue and that it is a “collective responsibility” to address such a situation.
He further explained that the collective action will be employed among all three campuses of U of T, as “we have the most strength when we are speaking as one community.”
Krull noted that he was not aware of any member of the UTM community affected by the ban.
According to Mary Sure Coleman, the president of the Association of American Universities, which includes 62 “leading research universities” in America and Canada, the ban should end “as quickly as possible.”
“We recognize the importance of a strong visa process to our nation’s security,” read Coleman’s statement on the association’s website.
“However, the administration’s new order barring the entry or return of individuals from certain countries is already causing damage and should end as quickly as possible.”
According to Universities Canada’s statement, bringing students, faculty, and staff around the world helps strengthen the Canadian universities by bringing different knowledge and skills to their research at higher educational institutions.
Trump’s executive order has sparked controversy around the world, with protests taking place at various American airports. A march against Islamophobia and white supremacy also took place on February 4 at the U.S. consulate in Toronto and in other locations across Canada, where hundreds of people participated.