OTTAWA — The federal government agrees to examine the request for reimbursement of Quebec for the support of asylum seekers in addition to take a series of measures to lighten the burden of the province.
“We will work the figures together and we will find a common ground,” said the federal Transport minister, Marc Garneau, at the end of the meeting Wednesday night of the intergovernmental working group on irregular migration was launched in August to deal with the crisis.
Ottawa agrees to put in place a process of screening asylum seekers at the border to know in which province they wish to go and allow them to get there. Those who do not want to stay in Montreal will be directed to other regions of Quebec where there are shortages of labour according to their skills. The granting of their work permit will be accelerated so that they can find a job as quickly as possible and assume their living expenses.
Asylum seekers: Ottawa is responding to the letter of the Quebec
Mr. Garneau has also indicated that $ 74 million of the $ 173 million allocated in the last federal budget to manage the irregular arrivals at the border will be used to accelerate the processing of asylum applications by the immigration and refugee board.
“This is a step in the right direction,” commented the quebec minister of Immigration, David Heurtel. The tone has changed. Already, we feel a greater openness on the part of the federal government.”
He expects to receive a check at the end of the year. “At a certain time, it seemed to be a door fully closed, he added. There what one has, it is a working group that starts to work now. The experts of the federal are going to sit down with our experts, we will talk about include ventilation costs.”
The tone was softer, between Quebec and Ottawa before the meeting.
“The federal government recognizes very well that Quebec has had a lot on his shoulders in the last nine months with the majority of the irregular migrants that came into the province”, had to emphasize, Mr. Garneau.
A starting point
Quebec requires $ 146 million to support asylum seekers who entered the country irregularly to the canada-u.s. border near the station of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle. It is a starting point, said Mr Heurtel.
“The letter of 21 march that I sent to Mr. Hussen said that it was the intention to claim all of the expenses that have been incurred by the province of Quebec in 2017,” he recalled. To date [sic], the figure that there is $ 146 million, it could be more because it continues to recognize the applications.”
Arms of iron expected
Earlier in the day, Ottawa had attempted to calm the game, while an arm of iron was announced with the province of Quebec.
“We would not have been able to manage the situation as well as we have been able to do it last year without the great collaboration of the Quebec and we look forward to continuing this collaboration”, stated the federal minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen, before question period on Wednesday.
The federal minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen
The canadian Press
A few hours earlier, the prime minister Philippe Couillard said it is “extremely dissatisfied” to the letter of the minister Hussen, urging him to take his responsibilities and continue to host irregular migrants.
Mr. Hussen was responding, finally, to the message that the government of Quebec he had received it almost a month in order to claim a refund of the amounts allocated for the support of asylum seekers.
In response, the minister Hussen said to understand the concerns of Quebec, but noted that it was still awaiting the breakdown of the financial support requested.
He also noted that only four accommodation sites for temporary asylum-seekers are currently available in the province, while there were 13 last summer, “which may create delays at the border and lead to a humanitarian situation which is unacceptable”.
“We must avoid causing undue suffering to families seeking protection,” he wrote, while calling for further collaboration with the government of quebec.
The response of the minister Hussen “is not acceptable”, was dropped, Mr. Couillard to his entry into the liberal caucus Wednesday morning, and it “shows an ignorance full of the realities on the ground, that Quebec has experienced during the last year and that, of course, you’re going to live this year, according to the projections”.
Quebec is ready to play a humanitarian role, had it insured, but according to its capacity and its resources. Services in health and education in particular are already “stretched” in the wake of the large influx of irregular migrants in 2017.
Quebec received 25 000 irregular migrants, half of all the entries of this type in Canada, compared to an average annual “normal” of 3500.
The projections of the quebec ministry of Immigration suggest for the next summer, during the peak period, a rate of 400 passages irregular per day, almost double the amount of 250 newspapers from the last year.
SOFTNESS AND ERROR STRATEGY
Agreement for Ottawa to take its responsibilities with regard to asylum seekers, the opposition parties in the national Assembly criticize the way to go liberal.
The leader of the Parti québécois (PQ) Jean-François Lisée said “the softness with which the government Couillard has managed” the situation since last year, taking everything with a “lightweight”. According to him, the government would have had to react well before.
The leader of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), François Legault has criticized “the strategic mistake” of the government, which has sent a letter to Ottawa, without specifying the amount of his financial demands or his capacity. “Is it that the prime minister can understand that, as long as it is going to make requests blurred in Ottawa, he will receive unclear responses?” has launched Mr. Legault.
“It is really sad to see the federal government blame the Quebec city instead of taking its responsibilities. In fact, it is more than sad, there, this is unacceptable”, has responded to Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Quebec solidaire.
“If the liberals in Quebec that are generally aplaventristes say that the capacity is reached, it is reached, has severed the member from the Bloc québécois to Mario Beaulieu. This causes an inhuman situation, it is overloading the Quebec like that.”
The minister of Immigration quebec David Heurtel rejects for the moment the idea of the CAQ to request the distribution of migrants according to the weight location of each province, as well as that of the PQ to request the suspension of the agreement on safe third countries. Under this agreement, the refugees should seek asylum in the first of two countries where they arrive. For many migrants, it is in the United States.
If they try to then go to Canada by a border post, they are turned back in the first country where they sought asylum. But if they cross the border irregularly, it is possible for them to apply for refugee status in Canada. Patricia Cloutier and The canadian Press