Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel has accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of creating a migrant “crisis” in Canada and says he has no plan to fix it.
Holding a news conference on Parliament Hill just hours before Trudeau is set to hold his own question-and-answer session with reporters, Rempel said Trudeau encouraged people to cross illegally from the U.S. into Canada by tweeting #WelcometoCanada after U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown.
That Jan. 28, 2017, tweet sent the wrong message right around the world, she said.
“I think he’s giving false hope to people crossing the border,” Rempel said. “I want to be clear: This is not a question of if we should have an asylums claim system in Canada, or if Canada should help the world’s most vulnerable. It’s a question of how.”
People are now questioning the legitimacy and integrity of Canada’s system because the Liberal government has “spectacularly failed” at managing it, Rempel said.
“That lies solely at the feet of Justin Trudeau,” she said.
Trudeau is meeting with an interprovincial task force on irregular migration today and is scheduled to hold a news conference in Montreal at 3:30 p.m. ET. CBCNews.ca will carry it live.
Massive backlog in claims
While not offering specifics on how a Conservative government would respond to the influx, Rempel said the immigration system operated efficiently and compassionately under the Stephen Harper administration.
With a massive backlog in refugee claims, Rempel called Trudeau “irresponsible” for opening Canada’s door, then responding to the spike by building “tent cities” instead of presenting a credible plan.
“We’re not that far off from frost,” she said. “Let’s be honest here.”
Asylum seekers are entering Canada outside of official border crossings to avoid the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, which can be applied at official land border points, train crossings and airports.
Under the agreement, refugee claimants are required to request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, unless they qualify for an exception spelled out in the agreement.
Scrap agreement with U.S., NDP says
The NDP, meanwhile, continues to urge the federal government to suspend the agreement.
Immigration critic Jenny Kwan on Wednesday wrote to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen accusing the government of sending “contradictory and disingenuous information” on the surge in asylum seekers.
“It contradicts the reality of the anti-immigration policies put in place by the Trump administration as well as the lived experience of many in the immigrant community living in the U.S.,” Immigration critic Jenny Kwan wrote in a letter to Hussen.
“Additionally, the events of last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, which elevated the racist, anti-immigrant and white supremacist movements to a level not seen in North America for over a generation, undeniably increases insecurity for all people of colour.”
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ – Jeremiah 29:11