(Quebec) Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette says closing Roxham Road, where asylum seekers cross the border from the United States to Canada, in Montérégie, would be “dangerous”. Yet this is what François Legault has been asking for a long time.
The Parti Québécois (PQ) must table a motion Thursday in the Blue Room calling on the federal government “to close Roxham Road as soon as possible and to ensure that reception at an official border crossing in the future is the ‘the only regular process for receiving asylum seekers’. The party of Paul St-Pierre Plamondon asks Quebec to encircle “a deadline”, failing which “the Quebec government will intervene itself to ensure the closure of the road”.
Mme Fréchette dismissed out of hand the request of the PQ, Thursday, while the Prime Minister himself calls for the closure of Roxham Road. According to the Minister of Immigration, “Roxham Road, if it is closed, there will simply be another one a few kilometers away. It solves absolutely nothing just to propose [le] to close. »
“It would be dangerous, indeed, because that [ferait] so as to pass through paths which are not marked, as Roxham Road is now. So that makes the crossing even more dangerous for asylum seekers. So, for us, it is important to renegotiate the agreement [sur les tiers pays sûrs] “, she added.
In a press scrum, François Legault saw no contradiction with what he said so far, when he asked last May “clearly to the federal government and Justin Trudeau to close Roxham Road”.
” Well no. We are asking the federal government, and that is the responsibility of the federal government, to close or in any case to apply the same way of doing things as at the Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau airport, that is to say to return them. We need an agreement with the Americans. In the meantime, we are asking – yes, we will take our share, 22% – but we have to send the other people elsewhere, ”said the Prime Minister.
Should the SQ patrol the border?
For his part, PQ MP Pascal Bérubé was unable to explain how Quebec would itself close an international border that is not under its jurisdiction, as requested by the motion to be tabled by his party.
“Ultimately, the Quebec government could decide that the Sûreté du Québec controls the Quebec border,” he said, without specifying how the Quebec police force would go about it.
“It is unusual in the history of Quebec, but it is an awareness that Quebec does not control its borders, does not control who comes here, the number of people, under what conditions. I know these questions are difficult for some, not for us. I think we have to say things as they are,” added Mr. Bérubé.
On this point, Minister Fréchette responded to the PQ MP by recalling that “border management is a federal responsibility”.
“So in itself, we don’t have the ability to improvise managing the Canada-US border. It is not within our jurisdiction. It is up to the federal government to assume this jurisdiction and to assume its responsibilities [afin] to ensure that the weight weighing on Quebec, due to the massive influx of asylum seekers, is reduced,” she replied.
“The Parti Québécois proposes to do what, to build a wall? How far? […] If the solution was to close Roxham Road, if it were as simple as that, it would be known, ”said the interim leader of the Liberal Party, Marc Tanguay.
The Press reported on Thursday that the arrival of its people was boosting the number of welfare recipients because of the time it takes the federal government to issue work permits. The Legault government is demanding that Ottawa assume the costs incurred and that it renegotiate with the administration of American President Joe Biden the agreement on safe third countries.
At present, only official crossing points are subject to the agreement, which leads asylum seekers who want to enter Canada to go through an irregular route, such as Roxham Road.