Migration expert Christina Clark-Kazak explains the devastating consequences of the recent U.S.-Canada border amendment made last weekend by President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau. The agreement not only turns away asylum seekers in need but will also surely push asylum seekers further underground.
In this episode, migration expert Christina Clark-Kazak explains the devastating consequences of last week's meeting between United States President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The meeting resulted in significant changes to a cross-border agreement and has already impacted the lives of thousands of asylum seekers attempting to make a life in Canada.
We explore what these changes will mean for those people searching for a safe home who are now being turned away from Canada. We also discuss the racialization of Canada's immigration policies.
Christina Clark-Kazak, an Associate Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa urges Canadians to think critically about who we accept as refugees, and who we turn away. She said:
"It's important for us, as Canadians, to have this discussion and think very carefully about why certain categories of people coming from certain areas are welcomed with open arms and other people, we're effectively just slamming the door in their faces."
## Claiming asylum in Canada
What the new amendment basically does is close any irregular border crossings for asylum seekers hoping to cross the U.S.-Canada border.
One of these irregular border crossings is at Roxham Road. Roxham Road is a rural road in upstate New York that crosses the border with the province of Québec. And last year, around 40,000 people arrived at this unofficial border crossing, hoping to find their way into new lives in Canada.
To look at it by numbers, this new amendment to the irregular U.S.-Canada land crossing is in sharp contrast to Canada's limitless welcome to Ukrainian refugees (there is no cap set on the number of migrants from Ukraine to Canada). Last year, 130,000 Ukrainian refugees arrived in Canada by air. In 2015-2016, Canada welcomed 25,000 Syrians. Approximately 40,000 people crossed at Roxham Road in 2022.
## Confusion and devastation at Roxham Road
Before the Safe Third Country Agreement, which was signed in 2002, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., both countries could reject asylum seekers at official border crossings. But there was a small loophole that provided a slim window for people desperately looking for a way into Canada. People who crossed at unofficial border crossings could still claim asylum.
With this new amendment, that slim window gets even smaller. Migrants can now be turned away at unofficial border crossings as well. The change took effect suddenly on Saturday, causing all kinds of confusion and trauma.
But issues at play at Roxham Road are larger than any one single border crossing. They are intimately connected to global politics including economic inequities, resource extraction, imperialism, colonialism and exploitation.
For many people, turning back is not an option. As Clark-Kazak said:
"People will be now crossing at places that are not so visible, that are in the forest, in places that are further from an official border post. And so they'll need to know how to navigate that. So they will be turning to smugglers. We know this because this happens on the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico all the time."
Even with changes to the Safe Third Country Agreement, this journey is a risk that thousands will continue to take.
Don’t Call Me Resilient: Season 5, Episode 1
THIS IS AN UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT
Host: Vinita Srivastava
GUEST: Christina Clark-Kazak, Associate Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa
MUSIC by Zaki Ibrahim [00:00:00] Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.
MUSIC by Zaki Ibrahim [00:00:03] Ow, ow, ow!
Vinita [00:00:05] From the conversation, this is. Don't call me resilient. I'm Vinita Srivastava.
Christina [00:00:11] We're welcoming of refugees when we know who they are. And we can decide who we're going to choose. We're not as welcoming when people spontaneously arrive and exercise a right that's protected under the Canadian law, but also international legislation.
Vinita [00:00:29] By now, you've probably heard of Roxham Road, the rural road in upstate New York that ends at the border with Quebec. And it's made headlines because last year about 40,000 migrants arrived at this unofficial border crossing, most of them hoping to find their way into new lives in Canada. Last Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met and amended the safe third country agreement to try to put a stop to the flow of migrants there under the original safe third Country agreement. Both Canada and the U.S. could reject asylum seekers at official border crossings, but there was a loophole.
Vinita [00:01:14] For people who crossed at unofficial border crossings like Roxham Road could still claim asylum. With this new amendment, migrants can now be turned away at unofficial border crossings as well. The change took effect almost immediately, causing all kinds of confusion and trauma. But the issues at play with Roxham Road and this new amendment are larger than any one single border crossing. Here with me to get into it is Christina Clarke-Cazak. She is an associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, and her research specializes in the study of forced migration and refugee status. She joins us from Ottawa. The Unceded Algonquin Territories. Way, way, way, way, way, way. Welcome, Christina.
Christina [00:02:07] Thanks for having me.
Vinita [00:02:09] So today we are talking about the amendment of the safe third country agreement. But can you take us back to when the agreement was first struck? What was the idea at the time?
Christina [00:02:21] So the original agreement was negotiated in 2002 and came into effect in 2004. And at that time, it was actually Canada who wanted the agreement. The Canadian government, for many decades, like many rich countries, is trying to prevent people from being able to get to Canada to make an asylum claim. And so most of our refugee claimants actually come up through the US. And so at the time, the idea was to try to stop people from being able to make a claim in Canada by sending them back if they came and made a claim at an official border crossing. And the U.S. government didn't have a lot of incentive to agree to this, because obviously this means there would be more claims that they would have to process in the U.S. But it was just after the September 11th attacks. And so the U.S. government was worried about security and they felt like this would be a way to securitise the border.
Vinita [00:03:15] There's been a lot of talk and attention on Roxham Road right now. That's partly because it's this loophole for irregular migration. But what's the spotlight about?
Christina [00:03:25] So the reason why there was so much attention to Roxham Road is because the Trudeau government, they set up a sort of unofficial official border crossing in the sense that people knew if they went to Roxham Road immediately after they crossed. There was an RCMP and CBSA officers who were there who would process almost immediately the initial claim. They don't get their claim immediately, but they're getting into the system to then make their claim. And so this became an issue between the Quebec government and the federal government, because if most people are coming into Quebec, that means the provincial government is then responding in terms of health care, education, all of the provincial jurisdiction. And also because it was concentrating people within a very small part of the country when obviously the border stretches across the premier of Quebec called publicly. There was an open letter to the Prime Minister to close Roxham Road. And then the leader of the official Opposition also stepped in to demand that it be closed within a certain period of time. So this then made headlines and this put pressure on the Trudeau government.
Vinita [00:04:33] Was it because of that political pressure that that's why we're seeing this amendment now?
Christina [00:04:38] There's always been political pressure and this renegotiation happened about a year ago. In fact, they were signed in 2022. So Trudeau has sort of had this in his back pocket for a while. So there was an agreement in principle, but it hadn't actually been put into practice. But the change of heart from the Biden administration, basically. Because there have been in recent weeks some more claims coming in from Canada. So there have been some people who have crossed from Canada into the U.S. And this became a political problem for Biden because some of the Republicans were saying that he didn't have control over either border because obviously his focus has mostly been on the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico. This was a way for both of them to solve a political issue at the same time.
Vinita [00:05:29] What's your opinion about this amendment?
Christina [00:05:31] Well, I think it's devastating if the purpose is to solve irregular migration. This is not going to solve it. In fact, it's going to push people further underground. Canada likes to promote itself as a country that promotes refugee rights globally, but it effectively cuts off a major way for people to be able to claim asylum in Canada. So it really erodes this right of asylum, which is protected both by domestic law, but also international law. And the other thing that I think is really unfortunate is there was a lot of secrecy around this. There was no indication there was no consultation with all the civil society organizations who really are the ones who were providing the services to refugee claimants. And it came as a surprise to everyone, and they closed the border within a matter of hours. So some people were already on their way up north and they had no communication, there was no information, and some people literally arrived a few minutes too late and the border was closed and they've already invested all of their life savings to come up to Canada. And now they couldn't cross or they would be sent back to the U.S..
Vinita [00:06:38] If we could just for a moment think about who is at Roxham Road. Like if we were there like before this weekend, who might we see trying to cross the border?
Christina [00:06:49] So this is a really good question because I think a lot of people think that people who are making their way to Canada are coming from Latin America, and in some cases they are. But actually, Roxham Road is a sort of microcosm of global displacement. So you have Afghans, you have Congolese, you have Haitians, you have people from Latin America, from Venezuela, from Mexico. But you also have a lot of people who are coming in directly. So people who have landed in South or Central American country and then who have made a very long journey all the way up. And this is because of externalization policies. So Canada, as well as most other rich countries in the world, are trying to prevent people from coming to Canada to make an asylum claim. And so we introduced, for example, visas. So in order to get onto a plane, you need to be able to have a visa. And Canada basically requires a visa from every refugee producing country in the world except for Mexico. And even with Mexico, there's an on and off visa policy.
Vinita [00:07:59] The need to apply for a visa is an externalization process.
Christina [00:08:04] Right. So externalization is basically any kind of policy that tries to extend Canada's borders administratively beyond the physical borders of Canada. So already Canada is very difficult to get to because of our geography. You either have to fly here, come by boat on a very long journey, or come by road from the US and further south. And so the visa policy effectively cuts off many, many would be refugee claimants because visa officers, as soon as there's any indication that someone would make a claim, will just simply refuse that visa. A second externalization policy or what are known as carrier sanctions. So these are fines that are given to transportation companies, so primarily airlines in the case of Canada. So this is why when you go on an international flight and you're trying to get back to Canada, the airline will actually check to see whether or not you have a visa or appropriate documentation in your passport. And the third element of the externalization policy is the safe third country agreement. So now basically it's even more difficult, if not impossible, to come here. So I should mention, though, there were a couple of exceptions to the safe third country agreement. So if you're an unaccompanied minor who does not have a parent or guardian in the U.S., then you are still allowed to cross and claim asylum. And if you have a close, like, immediate family member who's in Canada and who has status in Canada, so who is a citizen, a permanent resident, a protected person, or who has a claim that is in process at the Immigration and Refugee Board, That's another exception. But if you can see, these exceptions are very narrow. So if you have no family member here and you're not an unaccompanied minor, you're going to be turned back.
Vinita [00:09:57] So when you said that about minors, I just. Kind of I had this sort of visceral reaction because I feel that, well, what's going to happen? I mean, what do you think is going to happen now that Roxham Road is closed? I mean, what are some of the options now available to migrants? You mentioned a couple of exceptions. Do you think, for example, that we're going to see more unaccompanied minors as an example of some of the things that might happen?
Christina [00:10:21] So we've already seen some increase in unaccompanied minors. It's possible that some families, because they're trying to spread risk, might send someone because they know that minors are an exception under the safe third country agreement. However, once a minor gets status in Canada, they cannot sponsor their family until they turn 18. So that would be almost permanent separation from their family. And even once they turn 18, they then would have to demonstrate they have the financial capacity, etc. to sponsor. So that's not really a viable option. But what is definitely going to happen is that people will turn to smugglers to get across the border, because in the past it was quite easy, especially at Roxham Road, which as I mentioned, was this sort of official non-official point where, you know, you could cross in safety and you could immediately get into the system to make a claim. So people will be now crossing at places that are not so visible, that are in the forest, the places that are further from an official border post. They'll need to know how to navigate that. And so they will be turning to smugglers. We know this because this happens on the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico all the time. And the second thing that's going to happen is it disincentivizes people from making a claim because if they know they're just going to be sent back to the states, but they have some reason for being in Canada, whether it's a connection to a community, whether it's because they speak French, whether it's because, frankly, they just don't feel safe in the U.S. The U.S. has a gun control problem. And so what's going to happen is they're going to come here and they will not make a claim. They'll just go underground. And this is really not a solution for anyone. It actually is going to increase irregular migration if the policy objective here is, which is what has been officially stated, is to try to reduce irregular migration, then this is not the policy response that we need. What we need are more official channels to be able to make a claim. So it's not really a sound policy. It really is more about politics than it is about trying to find a policy solution to the problem.
Vinita [00:12:32] So speaking about politics for a minute, I believe a lot of Canadians may understand that migrants are coming here for a better life. But I know that you've pointed out in some of your writing that as a country we actually have a role to play in why people are leaving their countries. Can you give us an example or one or two examples of this?
Christina [00:12:53] It's a really good point because I think that Canadians feel very removed from the reasons or the sources of migration. I work with people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and I've worked for a very long time in Congo, but also in some of the neighbouring countries with Congolese refugees. And one of the main reasons why people are fleeing Congo is because of recurring violence related to resource extraction. So at a very simple level, most Canadians own a mobile phone. Within a mobile phone is coltan. And the Democratic Republic of Congo produces a significant percentage of the world's coltan. So indirectly, by participating in the sort of global economy. We're very involved in that. But more directly, there are Canadian companies who are in Congo that have been accused of quite serious human rights abuses within mines and other companies.
Vinita [00:13:51] What does this amendment tell you about North American attitudes towards migrants?
Christina [00:13:57] So I think that many Canadians and North Americans fear spontaneous arrivals. Hmm. There's a fear of the unknown. There's a fear of people coming across the border in a spontaneous way where we don't know who they are. We don't know where they're coming from. We don't know why they're coming here. We don't know when and exactly where they're going to cross. And so this causes fear. And I think that some of the politicians are tapping into this fear. The other thing I would say about the spontaneous arrivals is that because of the externalization policies that Canada has put in place, it is almost impossible for people to come here through a regular route. Right. It's almost impossible for people to get a visa, to get onto a flight to come here to then claim refugee status. Most of the people who do that are people who are here in Canada, and then the situation in their country changes. So, for example, we have international. Students who came from Syria. And then civil war erupted in Syria and then they claimed asylum. Or you were an Afghan woman who was studying here as a post-grad. And then the Taliban came into power. And then you claimed asylum. It's almost impossible to get here for irregular official channels, but people have this notion that somehow people are doing something wrong by coming irregularly. So even in my discussions with neighbours, people in faith communities, people in schools there’s this sort of fear. There's this feeling that why don't they just wait? Why don't they come through official channels? And I think that people don't realize there are no official channels. Basically, there are very, very few official channels and also that under international law, but also under Canadian law, you are not required to come through official channels. There's something called the non-penalization principle, which actually allows people to flee because we realize that desperate circumstances call for desperate measures. The 1951 convention was put into place after the World Wars, but particularly after World War Two. And if we thought about people fleeing the Nazis, for example, many people used false documents or hid or smuggled across borders. You know, I think that people have to understand that just because someone is doing something that is administratively irregular, so using a false passport or crossing at a non official border crossing, first of all, it is not a criminal offence. And second of all, it is sometimes necessary because of the desperate circumstances.
Vinita [00:16:39] I'm just thinking about what you're talking about, which is that fear. You talked about the anxiety and the fear that some of the folks that you've spoken to anecdotally, but I guess also through your research, you know that these are some of the attitudes that people have. How much do you think this has to do with white folks in Canada feeling this anxiety about being replaced?
Christina [00:17:00] So there's definitely a racialization element to this. And we can think about this in the contrast between the attention and the discussion around Roxham Road, which involved around 40,000 people in 2022. So in the global scheme of things, these are very small numbers. We compare that to what the public opinion was in relation to Ukrainians who came to Canada, okay, admittedly with visas, but under a very generous and liberal visa policy, we had about 150,000 in 2022 and the war didn't start until March. So we're not even talking about the same time period and the magnitude is obviously much bigger under the Ukrainians. Also, there was no cap.
Christina [00:17:47] Yeah, I just saw that it says that the number of people who can be approved in that program is unlimited.
Christina [00:17:54] Exactly. So the Canadian government is basically saying any Ukrainian can come to Canada if they wish and they've waived the visa fees, they've waived some of the biometrics for certain categories. They waived the COVID requirements when those requirements were still in place for everyone else. And the way that Ukrainians were welcomed into Canada, some provinces were bending over backwards to attract them, especially the Atlantic provinces. I'm not suggesting that this shouldn't have happened. What I'm saying is if you contrast that with the reaction to Roxham Road, it demonstrates the racist elements that are still apparent within Canadian society, but also within Canadian immigration policy. So if we look back historically, Canadian immigration policy has been blatantly, explicitly racist. We can cite multiple examples like the Chinese head tax or some of the immigration categories which were based on race. So we introduced a point system within the economic streams to somewhat address at least partially those very explicitly race based immigration categories. But there definitely are still decisions being made that are racialized. And I think it's important for us as Canadians to have this discussion and to think very carefully about why certain categories of people coming from certain areas are welcomed with open arms. And other people were effectively just slamming the door in their faces. And most people who are coming up what was at the time Roxham Road now across the border are racialized. They're people from Latin America, Africa, Asia. They're not typically white Ukrainians because white Ukrainians could come in through official routes. And so this is the distinction that needs to be made between understanding that some people do have official routes and channels and others have no other option but to come irregularly. We are welcoming of refugees, but I think that we're welcoming of refugees when we know who they are and when we can decide who we're going to choose. I think we're not as welcoming when people spontaneously arrive and exercise a right that's protected under Canadian law, but also international legislation.
Vinita [00:20:13] So what might happen to migrants if they get sent back to the United States?
Christina [00:20:19] So we already have some evidence of this because during the COVID 19 pandemic, in the very early stages, effectively the refugee border was sealed and people were being sent back. So we know, for example, that they're much more likely to be detained than they would be in Canada. So Canada also practices immigration detention, but we do so at a much lower rate than the United States. The United States has a huge immigration detention infrastructure, and so many people become detained in that, including children and families. And the Biden administration has recently hinted, in fact, that they're going to restart some of the family detention policies that were under Trump. So that's one concern. The second concern is around deportation. So again, because people are detained, it's much more easy to deport them before they've had a proper hearing. And in the U.S., there is more of an expedited process by which people can be detained. The third thing I would also say is that some refugee claimants are much less likely to be successful in the US and in Canada, for example, gender based claims, but they tend to have a lower rate overall. So you're much less likely actually to be accepted as a refugee in the US than in Canada. And so this then means that you're going to have people who are denied refugee protection where they would have otherwise had refugee protection and then subsequently be detained and or deported.
Vinita [00:21:48] It's very sad. I wrote down, detained and deported. That's very hard.
Christina [00:21:53] Hard? Yeah. And again, I think we have to acknowledge that Canada also detains and deports. Yes. I mean, in fact, our deportation rates are going to skyrocket now because basically what happens now if you enter into Canada and you want to make a claim when we say sent back to the US, it's deportation. Right. And in some cases, that deportation is quite aggressive and violent. Right. People are handcuffed and shackled if they think they're going to resist. So that is problematic. And it's also very costly. It's not only problematic from a human rights perspective, it's also actually very expensive to detain and deport people. And again, we could be putting those resources into the refugee claim process and allowing people to work and getting them into Canada. You know, it's kind of ironic that at the same time as we're closing our border, we've recently announced a 1.5 million over three year immigration target. So Canada clearly needs people in Canada. I mean, from an immigration perspective and obviously people who are coming here to claim refugee status are doing so because they need humanitarian protection. But they're still human beings. They still have capacity, they still are human resources. In fact, many people who get all the way to Canada are often quite highly skilled, so they could be contributing to the economy. But instead we've decided to invest our resources into detaining and deporting people instead of allowing people a pathway to safety.
Vinita [00:23:24] So one of the things I loved about reading some of your work and getting to know a bit of your research and also your news articles is that you have this great approach about, here's what I think needs to happen to make things better. And given what you've just said, can you provide a few things that Canadian government might be able to do to make things better?
Christina [00:23:46] I mean, I think in an ideal world, the safe third country agreement would be scrapped altogether. But I think realistically that's not going to happen. I think that unfortunately, the Supreme Court will rule that it is constitutional. The Trudeau government has clearly invested a lot of diplomatic and also political capital in making this amendment. So even though there are currently protests actually outside of Trudeau's constituency office in Montreal and across the country against the amendment, I think unfortunately it's going to stand. So I'm quite a pragmatic person. So I sort of think, okay, given this unfortunate situation, what could we do to at least make it somewhat better? I think the first thing is there needs to be communication to people who are trying to make decisions about whether or not to come to Canada. So because this was announced late on a Friday afternoon, it came into effect almost immediately. And the government has actually not really made very many official communications about this. So if the whole point is to prevent people from coming here, they need to know what the scenario is. And that has to also be available in languages that people will be speaking coming from different refugee producing areas. I think the second thing that needs to happen is that the Canadian government needs to think more carefully about the exceptions. So currently there's unaccompanied minors and there's people with close family members and a couple other sort of minor exceptions. But there is also a provision in the safe third country for what's called public policy exceptions. So this is where the government can decide, okay, we believe that certain categories should be protected and will be allowed to claim asylum in Canada. And so I think that the government should be using these public policy exemptions to include categories which would not be accepted in the U.S. So, for example, if you're making a gender based claim, it's very unlikely that your claim will be accepted in the US. Whereas Canada tends to include gender and sexual orientation and gender identity. So under the U.N. convention definition, you have to fear persecution because of race, religion, but there's also a category of a particular social group. So Canada has widened that to also include gender based claims, whereas the US generally does not accept those claims. So I think that the Canadian government should allow this as an exception, because if you're turning them back to the U.S., they're not going to be accepted in the U.S., but they would have been accepted in Canada. So this is just one example. I think the other thing that needs to happen is that the government has to realize that some people will go underground. Yeah, I mean, again, we know that. We know that from the southern border with the U.S. We know that from the Mediterranean. Any place where you have a border that’s securitized, where people are not allowed to cross, you get trafficking and smuggling and you get an underground situation. And so the government is going to have to invest resources into actually combating some of that now, which is unfortunate because basically those resources could have been put into allowing people to claim asylum.
Vinita [00:27:00] So last question, because I sometimes feel overwhelmed when we're talking about this. This is so big and we're talking a lot about what we think the Canadian government needs to do. Is there anything and you don't have to say, yes, there is, but is there anything that we can do as individuals that we can do to help make things better in this regard?
Christina [00:27:22] I mean, I think the first thing that people can do is to become better informed, because I think politicians get away with these kinds of policies because in general, people don't vote on immigration issues. They vote on domestic issues like health care, education, things that matter to them individually. But if we demonstrate to politicians that this actually matters to us and that we're well informed and we understand the complexity of the issues, I think that they're going to have to respond. And the second thing I would say is once you are informed, you advocate for people who are not citizens. I mean, this is one of the problems with democracy, right? Is that you have to be part of the demos. You have to be a constituent in order to then have access to the elected leadership. And in most cases, refugees and migrants are not citizens. And so they're disadvantaged in terms of the lobbying that they can do. So I think this is what people like ourselves who are citizens, we can demonstrate allyship by saying, okay, I'm a citizen, this is important to me and I'm going to take the time to write to my MPP or my MP, also city councillors, because a lot of the services actually are provided at a municipal level. So even before this came into place, there were undocumented individuals who are trying to access things like health services, education, etc. And in many of those cases there were sort of don't ask, don't tell policies that have been put in place because of advocacy by citizens for those. So I think that that's something else that we can do. The other thing I would say is get involved in organizations. So we have a number of non-governmental organizations across the country who work with newcomers at various levels. So something like the Canadian Council for Refugees is an umbrella group. You can go on their website, you can see their members in your local areas. It's not about necessarily giving money. It's also about giving time and talents. And as I say, to be engaged in these issues and show that you care and that you want to understand more, because I think this is what's actually going to shift the needle, because ultimately, as we mentioned at the beginning, this was a political decision. So if the politicians realize that it's not popular, then there might be some change in the future.
Vinita [00:29:42] Hmm. I like that. Thank you. Thank you so much for that. Thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it. I know that we're coming to the end, so I just want to say thank you so much for joining me today.
Christina [00:29:54] Oh, you're welcome. Thank you for having me. This has been great.
Vinita [00:30:02] That's it for this episode of Don't Call Me Resilient. I know that was a lot to take in. And I don't know about you, but that conversation with Christina Clarke Cusack left me feeling charged up. It was great that she actually left us with some small steps that we can take to help make a difference. Why don't you write to me and let me know how it landed for you? I'm on Twitter at write.vinita. That's W-R-I-T-E-V-I-N-I-T-A. And you can take our producers at ConversationCA so they can join in. Don't forget to use the hashtag: #Don'tCallMeResilient. If you'd like to read more about the episode contents, go to the conversation icon. We have more information in our show notes with links to additional stories and research. Finally, if you have news stories that you'd love to hear us cover, we'd especially love to hear from you. Email us at DCMR at the conversation dot com. And if you like what you heard today, please tell your friends or a family member about us. And don't forget to leave a review. Those ratings let others know that we're worth listening to. Don't Call Me Resilient is a production of the Conversation Canada. This podcast was produced in partnership with the Journalism Innovation Lab, and the lab is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The series is produced and hosted by me. Vinita Srivastava. Boke Saisi is our producer, Ollie Nicholas is our assistant producer and student journalist. Jennifer Moroz is our consulting producer. Our audio editor is Rehmatullah Sheikh. Ateqah Khaki is our audience development and visual innovation consultant. And Scott White is the CEO of the Conversation Canada. And if you're wondering who wrote and performed the music we use on the Heart, that's the amazing Zaki Ibrahim. The track is called Something in the Water.