Trudeau to Toronto Mayor Tory on asylum seekers

Pauline Gross
July 9, 2018

Less than two weeks after Mayor John Tory warned the city was running out of space and resources to handle a surge in asylum seekers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived at City Hall Friday to discuss the problem. Tory has said the Toronto shelter system is already overwhelmed.

The province has already committed $3 million to the Red Cross and offered up the 800 spaces that these people now occupy in college dorms, which students will need come next month.

Trudeau met with Doug Ford in Toronto this afternoon, and said afterwards he spent some time explaining to the premier how the asylum-seeking system works.

"I have talked to a lot of people who ask me - and it is a reasonable question - "Why don't we just stop them at the border, why don't we prevent them from coming over" and the answer is a combination of the charter, worldwide obligations and quite frankly due process", Trudeau told CP24 during a one-on-one interview prior to his meeting with Tory.

"The premier asked me a question that a lot of people have asked me: 'Why don't we just stop them at the border?" Provincial Attorney-General Caroline Mulroney who in an earlier letter to the Toronto mayor blamed the federal government for allowing "too many violent criminals back on our streets".

He said that it is important to determine a "path forward" that "demonstrates the values that define Canadians and our communities" while also "ensuring that the rules are followed and that our immigration systems remains something that Canadians can have confidence in".

"This has resulted in a housing crisis and threats to the services that Ontario families depend on", a spokesman for Ford said Thursday.

Ottawa has pledged $50 million to the provinces that accept the asylum seekers, but that doesn't begin to cover the costs of giving safe refuge and a start of a new life to those who seek our help.

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"What I am saying to the federal government is you have resources and you have assets in the City of Toronto and you are going to need to use those". "We're at capacity now". "We are going to see that in the results".

MacLeod told reporters that the PC government has provided federal officials with a list of facilities they own in Toronto that could be used to accommodate asylum seekers, though she refused to name those locations.

A memo posted on the government website Friday - the day Doug Ford was sworn in as premier - says pending pay adjustments for managers, executives and staff not covered by collective bargaining will be on hold "until the new government can put in place an expenditure management strategy".

"This is not acceptable", she said.

Canada evaluates asylum seekers to determine if they are fleeing persecution or terror, and sends home those who are economic migrants, he said. There is a process, however, that is now not being followed by illegal border crossers. The answer, he said, is the law.

Hill-Corrigan said she's now unsure whether the provincial government will continue to support the program as part of a three-year agreement signed with the previous administration. "We're working with Toronto to make sure that we have a plan in place to deal with that situation".

Under the deal, Ontario agreed to resettle a share of refugees "recognizing the need for flexibility in responding to emerging humanitarian needs", while Ottawa agreed to take into account the potential financial impact on the province and consider the need for additional supports.

Other reports by GizPress

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