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Ottawa, Jul 17 (Canadian-Media): Three cabinet ministers would be called to explain the Liberal government’s plan to manage the surge in asylum seekers along the Canada-U.S. border by the House of Commons immigration committee which will return in Ottawa this summer for a series of emergency meetings, media reports said.
The committee members met Monday and decided to hold at least two emergency meetings before Aug. 3 to study the government’s response to the thousands of illegal asylum seekers who have entered Canada from the United States.
The committee meetings would try to resolve the mounting tensions between the federal Liberals and Ontario’s Progressive Conservative (PC) government over the approach to resettling the border crossers.
Asylum Seekers. Image credit: Facebook page
The Liberals amended the original motion Monday -- tabled by Conservative MP and immigration critic Michelle Rempel who called on Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to testify -- to add Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
Ontario's support for the resettlement of asylum seekers who cross the border illegally had been withdrew earlier this month by Ontario Premier Doug Ford who said that the problem was created by federal government and it should fix it.
The resettlement of asylum seekers has cost Toronto $72-million, while the province has spent a further $60-million on social assistance and legal aid.
However, the federal government has only set aside $11-million to help Toronto deal with the added costs – money that will flow to the city in the coming weeks.
The $11-million is part of a $50-million federal commitment to Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba to help them pay for some of the extra costs incurred from the influx of asylum seekers.
The federal government said more support was on the way, as officials face an Aug. 9 deadline.
“Regardless about how you feel about this decision, on if it’s right or not, it has been made and Canadians now need information on how much this will cost them and how people will be integrated into Canada,” Rempel said.
Emergency meetings are necessary, said NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan to determine if United States is still a safe country for refugees under President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
“The President put in a policy and then acted on it by ripping [migrant] children away from their parents – throwing them in cages, locking up the parents. Under what planet is that a safe country for anyone?” Kwan said.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)