April 15th, 2024

Quebec calls out Ottawa for ‘inaction’ on asylum seekers, demands $1B compensation

By The Canadian Press on February 20, 2024.

The Quebec government is once again going public with its demands that Ottawa do more to ease the pressure of asylum seekers in the province. Bernard Drainville, Quebec Minister of Education. speaks to the press alongside Quebec Premiere Francois Legault during a press conference in Montreal, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter McCabe

QUEBEC – The Quebec government is ramping up pressure on Ottawa to do more to ease the strain on its services caused by an influx of asylum seekers.

Three provincial ministers held a news conference today demanding that the federal government stop the arrival of would-be refugees in Quebec and transfer those already in the province more equally across the country.

They say Quebec, which has less than a quarter of the Canadian population, receives 55 per cent of all asylum seekers.

The ministers are also calling on Ottawa to fully reimburse the province for what they say is $1 billion spent in the past three years settling refugee claimants.

Today’s news conference follows a series of public complaints by Quebec on the refugee issue, with the ministers saying the $150 million pledged so far by Ottawa to help the province house asylum seekers is not nearly enough.

Education Minister Bernard Drainville told reporters that the number of arriving children who need to attend school and learn French is leading to a “breaking point” in the school system.

Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Fr├ęchette accuses Ottawa of “inaction” and suggests there isn’t a sense of urgency among federal officials to deal with the issue.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2024.

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