Where’s PM’s plan for border crossers?
The Trudeau government now has four cabinet ministers working on the issue of irregular/illegal border crossers who have inundated Toronto’s shelter system, college dorms and hotels. They are:
• Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair
• Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale • Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen • Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, chair of the ad hoc intergovernmental task force on irregular migration.
But while there are plenty of cabinet ministers working on the file, what the Trudeau government doesn’t have, as federal NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan observed in noting the number of ministers working on the issue, is any coherent, long-term plan about where border crossers are going to be housed.
Blair told The Canadian Press Tuesday border crossers being housed temporarily in Toronto hotels will have their stays extended four weeks to the end of October.
That’s because the federal plan that was support to address this issue by Sept. 30, hasn’t been completed yet.
Meanwhile, almost 40 per cent of the spaces in Toronto’s emergency shelter system are now occupied by border crossers, while those who were temporarily housed in college dorms over the summer have been transferred to hotels.
To date, the Trudeau government has given Ontario only $11 million to care for thousands of border crossers ending up in Toronto and other cities.
The City of Toronto alone says its costs to date are $64.5 million, with 15 to 20 new border crossers showing up at Toronto’s emergency shelters every day.
The provincewide cost so far is $200 million, according to Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government.
And living conditions in at least one of the Toronto hotels being used to house these border crossers, according to paying hotel customers complaining to the TripAdvisor website, are a “zoo, filthy, noisy and dangerous.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are directly responsible for these problems due to their abysmal handling of the border crossing issue from the beginning and their inability, or unwillingness, to deal with it in a coherent way.
It’s past time they got their act together, before border crossers become an expensive and permanent problem Toronto has to deal with because of federal inaction.