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Ontario: Federal government still lacking credible plan at U.S. border

Staff Writer |
An increasing number of Canadians lack confidence in the federal government's ability to manage the influx of illegal border crossers, according to a federal internal poll recently released under access-to-information law.

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"The Trudeau government is not only refusing to compensate the provinces for their border mismanagement," said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, "they are refusing to listen to what Canadians are telling them in their own polls."

The news comes as the Federal Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen, takes the stage at the Canadian Club today.

According to public opinion surveys conducted by the federal government, only 35 per cent of online respondents agreed that the government is taking appropriate steps to manage illegal border crossings into Canada, while only 18 per cent felt the number of people claiming asylum was at the appropriate level.

In July, Ontario formally asked the federal government to fully compensate the province and municipalities for the costs associated with illegal border crossers. In addition, a motion was made last week at the Standing Committee on Public Accounts requesting the province's Auditor General to conduct an audit of the costs associated with illegal border crossers.

"We need to have a thorough understanding of the costs and the pressures on provincial and municipal services," said MacLeod. "In Toronto, approximately 40 per cent of shelter occupants are refugees."

Since the start of 2017, 36,000 asylum seekers have crossed illegally into Canada at unofficial points of entry. So far this year, the numbers are higher than during the same time span in 2017. Reports tabled in the House of Commons show that only 398 people have been removed to date.

"We pride ourselves on being a welcoming province for all newcomers to Canada," concluded MacLeod. "However, we have been clear from the very beginning that when our social services experience this type of pressure, our commitment is to refugees and asylum seekers who have entered Canada legally, and to individuals who permanently reside in our province."

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