Canada failing to match the needs of asylum seekers: panelists | Power Play with Vassy Kapelos

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The Prime Minister there responding just at the top of this hour to a call from Quebec’s Premier to reduce the number of Asylum Seekers coming into that Province Fran Leo says the ability to support those seeking Asylum is nearing a quote breaking point and the FEDS as you heard

There aren’t really fighting back indeed intergovernmental affairs minister Dominic Leon also replied on social media to that request saying Ottawa is taking Quebec’s concerns seriously what to make of that response and the pressure point the feds face on immigration more largely right now let’s bring in our front bench joining me this

Evening former BC Premier Christy Clark she’s a senior adviser with Bennett Jones former Toronto mayor John Tori is here as his former NDP leader Tom mare hi everybody good to see you uh Tom I’ll start with you because you’re coming to us from Quebec the concern from the

Premier there is not a new one certainly it comes post the deal with the United States that had been thought to reduce the number of Asylum Seekers but but the premier is highlighting what’s happening at airports is this a legitimate concern in your your view or is it also about

Kind of distracting from his own political pressure points in the province of Quebec at the moment there are those political pressure points in Quebec no question bash you’re right about that but at the same time Lego is pointing to something that is obvious and it’s the same thing that mayor

Olivia Chow pointed to recently it said the costs are not being borne by the level of government that’s responsible it’s the federal order of government that has the prime responsibility here Quebec has about 20% of the Canadian population has been systematically receiving more than 50% of the Asylum

Seekers Quebec provides welfare as a last resort the feds are having trouble delivering work permits a lot of these people would love nothing more than to be able to work but that’s gummed up in the works of of the departments in Ottawa as well there are more than 1,000

Classrooms with the kids from those waves uh who who are learning French but it’s an additional expense these are expenses in terms of the availability of housing the the price of a 4 and a half a two-bedroom apartment in monreal is just skyrocketing even though we have pretty decent rent control in the

Province of Quebec it’s just the pressure is so huge right now so is Lego also at the same time playing a political game because he’s in a shouting match right now with the patua which is resurgent yes that’s part of the process but at the same time it’s a

Very legitimate concern the costs very well established proven are well over 450 million to Quebec so far and the FEDS what was interesting today to me watching domic Leon coming in and saying okay we’re going to talk about this which is a very different answer than what the trudo Liberals especially their

Backbenchers in Toronto were giving to Olivia Chow they was they were ready to have a fight with her about this so it it seems that they’re starting to recognize that they do have that responsibility yeah it’s interesting I think that the response and and we heard from the Prime Minister there Christy

Which kind of echoed what Minister Leblon said on social media as well was like not we’re up for a fight we’ll do any it was more like we’ll we’ll talk about this you know we get it we get it is that reflective of exactly what we

Convened to talk about a week ago which is how much the immigration file is um you know a bit of an aila’s heel to them right now when it comes to the larger issue of affordability I think so I think for the first time we’re starting to see them

Seeming to listen that’s great um but this is a very real issue not just a political issue it’s a real issue in Canada for everybody as Tom said I mean the pressure on classrooms on health Care on housing costs those are I mean those are the things that Canadians are

Thinking about right now we’ve had a million almost a million new immigrants come in over the last couple of years that’s a huge number of people to try and accommodate within a system that isn’t growing which in a you know our health care isn’t feds haven’t added a

Bunch of money to healthc care housing and and social services and Weare in provinces so you know I think the federal government has been really derelict in its Duty in making sure that immigrants are are settled and have what they need in order to be able to fit

Into communities and function well in those communities that is their job as Tom said they’ve been der elected doing that job but remember though too there’s you know one of the reasons that we’re seeing so many new Asylum Seekers come in at airports in Quebec is because the

Federal government has turned off the top at rock at rexam Road in in Montreal so people are just finding another way in but when the federal government also went at the same time and said we are going to take your we’re going to change the whole temporary uh visitor Visa

Program so that we’re gonna just we’re not really going to ask you when you have to leave anymore it meant that they opened a new door for uh Asylum Seekers coming into Canada that they don’t control that you know this is a problem of their own making so not only did they

Create the problem um with the changes to the temporary uh visitor uh Visa system but they also then aren’t looking after people when they get here it’s a legitimate concern for Canadians I’m a big supporter of immigration but immigrants need to be supported when they arrive and we need to make sure

That communities are ready to welcome them yeah the point around the visas for example was part of what Premier Lego wrote in his letter to uh the Prime Minister that the closing of Rox and Rob for example had helped John but that uh that the the influx through the airports

Was kind of you know returning to to exacerbate the issue to be fair to the feds they haven’t done nothing I mean there have been large transfers to both Toronto and to the province of Quebec to help welcome I think the point that both of those jurisdictions are making is it

Hasn’t been commensurate with the level of um immigration through through that pathway through through basically Asylum Seekers it hasn’t matched the need that is absolutely correct and the timing has been off and that’s the part that’s the greatest mystery to me I mean this was an issue throughout the time I was mayor

Which is the last eight years and finally I think maybe in the second year 2016 they actually did start to flow some money after we sort of said and I said it quietly to them because I said look you don’t want refugees which we have a proud history of of dealing with

In this country to become a polarizing issue we don’t want that to happen and they agreed with that and they flowed some money but every year it was flowed late it took long uh you never understood when they were going to do it each year because they did it for many

Years um why it took so long and this year’s the greatest mystery of all because when the pressure is as great as it’s ever been in fact much greater I think out of the 10,000 people that are sheltered in Toronto uh right now as we speak 5,000 of them are refugees so

That’s 50% which is the highest it’s ever been it was around 30 when I was mayor today they said yeah and they are arriving at the um at the airport now because they’re not coming as much down Highway 401 from Montreal from having AC cross at roxom road so the mystery to me

Is why a check they’ve written every year for the last number of years they’re being so slow to right now letting this build up into a boiling cauldron when in fact the prin principle they’ve established a long time ago is that they will support this they should

Be doing some other things like setting up transition centers where they can uh you know when I say process they can help the refugees to find places other than the biggest cities to go to because there are places where they could be housed and where there are jobs and

They’re not doing that either but the money is the biggest mystery because it’s not a precedent they’ve done it before and they have set up some centers in some instances but again Tom I think the issue is that it’s not commensurate with the level of of Asylum Seekers that

Are coming in more broadly speaking and politically speaking immigration is going to be one of the big things that they’re talking about it feels like over the past two weeks at this cabinet Retreat coming up that it has like skyrocketed in importance do you anticipate a tangible announcement from

The feds on this file what a great great question again bashy because if we go back to last Summer’s tragic C Retreat of it bringing everybody out to Prince Edward Island holding the press conference and saying precisely nothing uh Canadians were scratching their head saying well this was your chance you

Know the big reset and and you delivered upus and so what are you going to come up with this time this is a perfect example of something concrete that can be done yes I I I think that’s exactly it

Panelists discuss pressure on the feds and provincial leaders to take action on helping asylum seekers find safe refuge.

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39 COMMENTS

  1. What is Christy Clark talking about – she actively promoted the sale of Canadian property to offshore millionaires, regardless of well-being of the communities living in the communities she was advertising.

  2. Nevermind asylum seekers, Canada is failing to match the needs of its own citizens. We are on the verge of a population trap where the population is expanding far faster than the infrastructure can deal with. We need a moratorium on ALL immigration before the spiral is too steep to recover from.

  3. Many Canadians are snobs they feel somehow entitled…. superior….

    The country has no industry… Only real estate is the highest bubble in world… A country obsessed in English…. And Canadian experience!!! No one can work with respect… A Goldilocks tactics and niceties ?

    In a world so much different yet Canadians have never changed their false image they carry off the superiority!!

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