The Legault government is asking Ottawa to close Roxham Road

In a press conference on Wednesday, the Quebec premier claimed to have conveyed this message to Justin Trudeau’s government: Wait a minute, it’s not even a question of money, it’s impossible.

On Tuesday, we learned of Quebec’s signing of a nearly $50 million deal to allow future asylum seekers arriving via Roxham Road to be housed at a location whose location has not yet been announced.

In addition, Mr. Legault criticized Ottawa for his application an unreasonable processing time for the files of these asylum seekers.

The timeframe for a refugee application to be heard by the Immigration and Refugee Agency is currently 14 months from the time the refugee application is forwarded to the time the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) makes a decision.

In 2021, the Refugee Protection Department (RPD) accepted more than 60% of the asylum applications submitted to it, ie 48,000.

As things stand, Roxham Road must be closedadded the Minister for Immigration, Franciscation and Integration of Quebec, Jean Boulet.

According to him, this passage is in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle has become a sieve that allows too many people to arrive in Quebec without benefiting from a dignified and humane welcome.

Federal Minister for Public Security Marco Mendicino.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick

In Ottawa, Secretary of Public Safety Marco Mendicino said it was important to strike a balance in this file between on the one hand Defending the rights of refugees and on the other hand the necessity to protect everyone in Quebec.

While announcing stricter measures on the acquisition of weapons, Minister Mendicino said negotiations are underway with the US government for a new agreement to regulate the free movement of asylum seekers.

We have a strict system […], we are a country that welcomes immigration because we have a strict system. We will continue to work with partners to resolve the issue. »

A quote from Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, in a scrum

Quebec could accommodate 36,000 migrants arriving via Roxham Road this year, according to Bloc Québécois MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe. Given this situation, Ottawa to unilaterally suspend the agreement to safe third countries and compensate Quebecsays Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe.

What Justin Trudeau replied, he remains determined modernize the agreement.

The Agreement on Safe Third Countries

On Wednesday, the Parti Québécois (PQ), along with Minister Boulet, tabled a motion calling on the National Assembly:

  • calls for the closure of Roxham Road;
  • calls for migrants to transit through the regular channels, ie border crossings, across Canada;
  • calls on the federal government to suspend the agreement on safe third countries.

Under the Safe Third Country Agreement – ​​which the Supreme Court of Canada is considering – Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe havens in which people can seek shelter.

This means Canada can turn away potential refugees staying at land ports of entry along the Canada-US border on the grounds that they must submit their applications in the United States, the country where they first arrived.

An administrative burden

In a press conference said the head QP, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, confirmed that his formation requested the suspension of the Safe Third Countries Agreement about five years ago. close Roxham Road and amend this Agreement, that is the samebecause this would result in all asylum seekers being directed to the border crossings.

Portrait of Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

The President of the Parti Québécois (PQ), Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Jacques Boissinot

According to the PQ leader, the ten-year lease Quebec just signed to house asylum seekers in Montreal shows the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) government is not doing so serious in its motion to close Roxham Road. Sign a contract for this summer at the limit, he argues. [Mais] the government commits for ten years.

Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon also criticizes Ottawa for encroaching on Quebec disorganized and chaotic.

That we only encourage illegal crossings in Quebec, and that there are tens of thousands of arrivals each year, means that Quebec carries an administrative burden […] which makes no sense. »

A quote from Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, President of the Parti Québécois

But in contrast, the point of view is the QP will not be shared.

For the parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire (QS), Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, even closing Roxham Road will not solve any problem. Quebec must be able to talk about these things without resorting to simplistic solutions and intellectual shortcutshe said.

On the side of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), MP Carlos Leitao believes that he would be extremely counterproductive […] to close Roxham Road. We close it and then what? We’ll just move the problem somewhere else.

The sign at the entrance to Roxham Road in the United States.

The sign at the entrance to Roxham Road in the United States

Photo: Radio Canada / Romain Schué

What is a “true refugee”?

Marjorie Villefranche, director of the Maison d’Haïti in Montreal, advises against closing Roxham Road. According to her, this would have the effect of placing people who will anyway try to enter the country completely illegally and under extremely difficult conditions.

In the interview at lunch info At the ICI premiere, Wednesday, Ms. Villefranche explained that when entering in this irregular way what is roxham road These people are immediately documented, we know who they are, we give them work permits and they are not illegal. Furthermore, Your children can go to school.

To Prime Minister Legault for claiming thata good part Migrants from Roxham Road are not refugeesMs. Villefranche replies that the situation has changed dramatically since the United Nations defined what a refugee was some 40 years ago.

l’époque c’était quelqu’un qui craignait pour sa vie parce qu’il y avait la guerre dans son pays, rappelle-t-elle. Maintenant, qu’est-ce qu’on dit des réfugiés climatiques?”,”text”:”Àl’époque c’était quelqu’un qui craignait pour sa vie parce qu’il y avait la guerre dans son pays, rappelle-t-elle. Maintenant, qu’est-ce qu’on dit des réfugiés climatiques?”}}”>Back then it was someone who feared for his life because his country was at war, she recalls. What about climate refugees?

As soon as there [aura] a political crisis, an environmental disaster, a natural disaster and a war, we will have refugees. How to determine “he is a real refugee and he is not a real refugee?” »

A quote from Marjorie Villefranche, director of the Maison d’Haïti, in Montreal

The director of the Maison d’Haiti says asylum seekers are housed for almost a month after arrival until they find housing themselves with the support of community organizations.

Ms. Villefranche acknowledges that a solution needs to be found to accommodate her temporarily in Montreal. As a result, many of them expressed their desire to settle in the region, she notes.

With information from Sébastien Desrosiers

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