About 100 sol­diers help with the crush of asy­lum seek­ers at Que­bec bor­der

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

SAINT-BERNARD-DE-LACOLLE, Que. — Teams of Cana­dian sol­diers stretched can­vas across the metal frames of tents at a camp site near the Que­bec-U.S. bor­der on Wed­nes­day as they helped fel­low au­thor­i­ties cope with the crush of asy­lum seek­ers cross­ing into Canada.

The site, lo­cated on a flat stretch of grass be­hind the build­ing where asy­lum claimants are bused in from the bor­der, was ex­pected to ac­com­mo­date up to 500 peo­ple. “We have about 100 per­son­nel here on the ground who will set up 25 tents in or­der to house ap­prox­i­mately 500 peo­ple,’’ Maj. Yves Des­bi­ens said in an in­ter­view in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle. “We’re go­ing to set up light­ing as well, and heat­ing and we’re go­ing to have floor­ing in­stalled.’’

The sol­diers will have no role in se­cu­rity mat­ters and will not par­tic­i­pate in law-en­force­ment tasks. All but a few will re­turn to their home base once the site is com­pleted. Ear­lier in the day, in nearby Hem­ming­ford, some 40 asy­lum seek­ers sat un­der white tents at an im­promptu re­cep­tion cen­tre that has sprung up on the Cana­dian side of a pop­u­lar il­le­gal bor­der cross­ing.

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