Feds should pay all bills for border-crossing crisis

Trudeau has been trying very hard to push the costs of his migration policies onto other levels of government. Premier Ford finds that unacceptable.

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His country may be $1.4 trillion in debt, but the federal Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should pay all the bills for a border crossing disaster that has crippled Toronto, parts of Quebec and damaged the entire country, a spokesman for Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Thursday.

“This mess was 100 per cent the result of the federal government, and the federal government should foot 100 per cent of the bills,” Simon Jefferies, a spokesperson for Ford, said in a statement.

Those comments came shortly before Ford met with Trudeau Thursday.

The federal government recently pledged to give Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba $50 million to help offset some of the costs incurred due to the influx of asylum seekers illegally crossing the Canada-U.S. border. But Ontario’s share of that was just $11 million.

The provinces, however, have asked for much more support.

Quebec, which has seen the bulk of asylum seekers, has said its costs are closer to $146 million, though that tally includes projections for future expenses. The province is set to receive $36 million from Ottawa.

Toronto Mayor John Tory has said his city alone needs $64 million to recoup costs.

It appears Trudeau hasn’t thought his plan for this crisis through. Maybe, he thought the provinces would just cave into the federal Liberals and pay all the bills. But Ford made it pretty clear to Trudeau Thursday that he’s not going to play this game anymore. The Toronto Star reported that Ford has withdrawn Ontario’s support for the program to resettle asylum seekers.

“Blaming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government for creating ‘a mess,’ Premier Doug Ford’s new Progressive Conservative administration is withdrawing Ontario’s co-operation with Ottawa on resettling asylum seekers, the Star has learned,” Robert Benzie reported, “Ontario Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod told federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen that Queen’s Park is stepping back from the migration crisis.”

“Ontario will always be a welcoming province to those who want to come to our country legally. There is a process, however, that is currently not being followed by illegal border crossers,” Jefferies said. “The federal government encouraged illegal border crossers to come into our country, and the federal government continues to usher people across the U.S.-Quebec border into Ontario.”

“This has resulted in a housing crisis, and threats to the services that Ontario families depend on,” he said.

So what’s Trudeau going to do about that? Is he going to shove his refugee plan down Ontario’s throat?

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is suggesting Ontario’s new premier doesn’t fully understand Canada’s international obligations when it comes to dealing with refugee claimants,” Chris Young of The Canadian Press reported in The Globe and Mail before the meeting Thursday between Ford and Trudeau. 

Oh, so that’s the problem. Ford doesn’t understand that he has to pay and take the heat for Trudeau’s refugee scheme. Maybe Canadian taxpayers don’t understand it either. While Trudeau throws millions of dollars around to push his “diversity-is-our-strength” strategy, we have 30,000 Canadians with no place to sleep each night. We’re $1.4 trillion in debt and counting. When the bank book should be closed, Trudeau keeps opening it up.

The solution is so obvious. Just close and secure the border from all illegal migrants. Of course, there’s a Third Country Agreement that complicates all this. To use the Wikipedia explanation of the agreement: “The Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement, officially the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America for cooperation in the examination of refugee status claims from nationals of third countries, is a treaty between the governments of Canada and the United States to better manage the flow of refugee claimants at the shared land border.

“Under the agreement persons seeking refugee status must make their claim in the first country they arrive in, either the United States or Canada, unless they qualify for an exception. For example, refugee claimants who are citizens of a country other than the United States that arrive from the United States at the Canada–United States land border can only pursue their refugee claims in Canada if they meet an exception under the Safe Third Country Agreement.

“The agreement was signed on December 5, 2002 in Washington, D.C. by Bertin Côté (Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Canada) and Arthur E. Dewey (Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, United States Department of State). It entered into force on December 29, 2004.”

Maybe, it’s time to tear that agreement up. Actually, there’s no maybe about it. Ford says Ontario is experiencing a housing crisis because of the illegal crossing of refugees. That problem shouldn’t be the Ontario government’s problem. It should be Trudeau’s problem.

After the meeting with Ford, Trudeau said he stressed the need for collaboration, saying officials from both levels of government should get together to make sure the immigration and refugee system is being applied “in its integrity.”

But there is no integrity in this immigration system anymore. Dictionary.com defines integrity this way:

“adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

“the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished:

“to preserve the integrity of the empire.

“a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition:

the integrity of a ship’s hull.”

The same dictionary defines chaos this way:

“a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.

any confused, disorderly mass:

a chaos of meaningless phrases.

the infinity of space or formless matter supposed to have preceded the existence of the ordered universe.”

It should be clear what word fits this situation best.

Jeff Wilkinson

Jeff Wilkinson is a retired writer, who worked 35 years in print and broadcast journalism before retiring. He also served in the press operations crews at the 2015 Pan Am Games and the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

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