Agreement on safe third country: a suspension would worsen the situation, according to Ottawa

Entente sur les tiers pays sûrs: une suspension empirerait la situation, selon Ottawa

Suspend the Agreement on the “safe third country”, such as the request for nearly a year, the Parti québécois (PQ), “would be an invitation to come and make a refugee claim in Canada,” says Ottawa.

The leader of the PQ, Jean-François Lisée, commented Wednesday morning, the information relayed by The Press , according to which Ottawa would have tried 12 times to discuss with the United States to change the Agreement to a safe third country.

According to The Press, quoted by the Reuters agency, the federal government would assess the possibility of returning the migrants to the border, so that they present their asylum application in the United States rather than be processed by the canadian authorities. The information, however, has been disproved by the press secretary of the federal minister of Immigration.

Jean-François Lisée is pleased, however, actions carried out by the Trudeau government in order to address the problem of influx of migrants at the border. “The canadian government is not as blinded as we thought we did until now. This is a good news”, commented the head of the parti québecois.

The minister Hussein refused up to now to say if talks between Ottawa and Washington had taken place with respect to the possibility of modernizing the Agreement on safe third country.

“What surprises us is that Ottawa seems to ask the permission of the United States to modify the agreement,” responded Wednesday morning the leader of the PQ, Jean-François Lisée.

The PQ claims the application of a provision of the Agreement, which provides that a signatory country — in this case Canada, may suspend the application of the agreement for a renewable period of three months.

“We call on Justin Trudeau to apply a provision of the agreement that exists. It is enough to ask nicely. That it applies to the agreement”, pointed out the head of the parti québecois.

Talks are “exploratory”

However, the same article also indicates that any modification of the agreement must be accepted and approved by both Canada and the United States.

It is the way that seems to favour Ottawa, has confirmed to the Sun – the press secretary of the federal minister of Immigration, Mathieu Genest. “We don’t work in secret. It is open to modernizing the Agreement,” and this requires the collaboration of the United States, he said.

This last is acknowledged that the talks “exploratory” are underway with the United States to see how some of the provisions of the Agreement could be reviewed. The nature of the interaction, however, remains confidential.

The suspension of the agreement, which dates from 2004, is not the solution advocated by the federal government, he advanced, contrary to what the PQ since last summer.

According to the attaché of the minister Hussein, suspend the Agreement would create more problems than it would solve. “It would be an invitation to come and make a refugee claim in Canada,” he explained.

The federal government shares information with the us authorities about the provenance of asylum-seekers. Thus, whereas a majority of the applicants come from Nigeria, Ottawa judge that the suspension of the Agreement could increase the phenomenon of asylum shopping, or “shopping for asylum.”

In Quebec, the minister of international Relations Christine St-Pierre, believes that Ottawa should continue to pursue discussions with the us government and find a solution.

“The federal government must have discussions with the us government to see how we can ensure that this situation-there will be less untenable,” said the minister.


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