Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday July 17, 2018
‘Not Canadian’: Hussen, MacLeod exchange sharp words over asylum seeker ‘crisis’
A meeting between Canada’s federal and provincial immigration ministers ended bitterly Friday, with federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen openly criticizing the Ontario government for what he called a dangerous and un-Canadian approach to the issue of asylum seekers.
“They’ve chosen to use false language with respect to so-called queue-jumping, when we have told them over and over again there is no such thing,” Hussen told reporters in Winnipeg at the closing press conference.
“Asylum seekers are processed in a separate queue at the IRB and all the other regular immigration programs are processed by IRCC, and conflating the two knowingly is irresponsible, it’s divisive, it’s fearmongering and it’s not Canadian, and it’s very dangerous.”
Hussen criticized Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod — who is also responsible for the immigration file — for walking away from discussions between the other immigration ministers and for refusing to sign the official communique issued after the meetings.
MacLeod did not take the attack lightly, telling reporters after Hussen left the podium that it was the federal minister who did not want to collaborate on the issue of irregular migration.
“I am not going to get into a debate on semantics with the minister,” she said, “but I did request that he take into consideration these exorbitant costs which … is about $174 million on top of the $3 million that Ontario provided to the Red Cross.
“I was expecting that we would be able to collaborate on that. Instead, what I saw here today was … him calling me un-Canadian, which I take great offence to. And I so hope he will apologize and reconsider his language.
“There is a problem at the border, the border must be enforced and … Ontario should be made whole for all of the costs that we’ve incurred.” (Continued: CBC News)