Where’s PM’s plan for bor­der crossers?

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION -

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.

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