Blair to lead talks on ir­reg­u­lar mi­gra­tion, study hand­gun ban

PressReader - Tke Channel - Blair to lead talks on ir­reg­u­lar mi­gra­tion, study hand­gun ban
OT­TAWA • Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau has as­signed sweep­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to Bill Blair, the new min­is­ter in charge of bor­der se­cu­rity and or­ga­nized crime, task­ing him with lead­ing the file on ir­reg­u­lar mi­gra­tion and ex­am­in­ing whether Canada should ban hand­guns and as­sault weapons.In a freshly minted man­date let­ter made pub­lic Tues­day, the prime min­is­ter asks Blair to lead con­ver­sa­tions with the United States on the Safe Third Coun­try Agree­ment, work­ing closely with For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land and Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Ahmed Hussen.The agree­ment stip­u­lates that asy­lum seek­ers are re­quired to make their refugee claims in the first “safe” coun­try in which they ar­rive — mean­ing those who come into Canada at an of­fi­cial land bor­der cross­ing are sent back to make their claim in the U.S.The agree­ment does not cover ir­reg­u­lar asy­lum seek­ers — those en­ter­ing Canada at un­of­fi­cial points, most no­tably in Que­bec.Blair’s work will be sup­ported by the de­part­ments of Pub­lic Safety, Im­mi­gra­tion and For­eign Af­fairs, the let­ter says. Blair will re­port to Pub­lic Safety.Trudeau is also or­der­ing Blair to ex­am­ine a “full ban on hand­guns and as­sault weapons in Canada” while tak­ing care not to im­pede the law­ful use of firearms.Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale told re­porters in July — fol­low­ing a deadly shoot­ing in Toronto that saw an 18-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl killed and 13 oth­ers wounded — that the gov­ern­ment is pre­pared to con­sider tight­en­ing hand­gun laws.The Canada-U.S. re­la­tion­ship has sur­faced in other man­date let­ters be­ing made pub­lic to­day, in­clud­ing is­sues around trade and en­ergy.In­ter­na­tional Trade Di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion Min­is­ter Jim Carr is be­ing tapped to boost trade in key mar­kets “whether or not a trade agree­ment ex­ists.”His man­date let­ter tells him to fo­cus on trade with Asia by mov­ing the nee­dle on trade talks with China, In­dia, and re­gional pacts in the Pa­cific and South Amer­ica. Carr is also asked to help with trade talks with the U.S.Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Amar­jeet Sohi has been asked to help work­ers caught up in trade dis­putes, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously work­ing with the U.S. and Mex­ico on “en­ergy se­cu­rity.”Trade among prov­inces is the fo­cus of In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Do­minic LeBlanc’s man­date let­ter. His let­ter em­pha­sizes work­ing with prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries to elim­i­nate in­ter­nal trade bar­ri­ers, but says the work will be done with a “full ex­er­cis­ing” of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s con­sti­tu­tional and le­gal rights “on the reg­u­la­tion of trade and com­merce.”Spend­ing fed­eral money faster is a key fo­cus for new In­fra­struc­ture Min­is­ter Fran­cois-Philippe Cham­pagne, who takes over a port­fo­lio where slower than ex­pected fed­eral spend­ing has been a con­stant thorn for the gov­ern­ment.Se­niors Min­is­ter Filom­ena Tassi is be­ing told to im­ple­ment the gov­ern­ment’s prom­ise to shift how the gov­ern­ment cal­cu­lates in­creases in se­niors ben­e­fits. Her man­date let­ter has a heavy em­pha­sis on pro­tect­ing se­niors from a litany of is­sues: fraud, el­der abuse, on­line fi­nan­cial scams, “high-pres­sure sales tac­tics,” and “po­ten­tial harms” when se­niors deal with banks and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies.Mean­while Trudeau also an­nounced sig­nif­i­cant changes to the “struc­ture and man­date” of cab­i­net com­mit­tees, which re­flects changes in the min­istries, but also sig­nals the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment is get­ting pre­pared for a cru­cial year be­fore the next fed­eral elec­tion.Trea­sury Board has now been tasked with new re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, in­clud­ing de­fence pro­cure­ment and “mod­ern­iz­ing the pub­lic ser­vice pay sys­tem.” A spe­cial sub­com­mit­tee of Trea­sury Board is told to ad­dress the “un­ac­cept­able hard­ships caused by the Phoenix pay sys­tem and “im­ple­ment­ing a mod­ern, re­li­able, long-term so­lu­tion.”Trudeau also an­nounced the cre­ation of a new ini­tia­tive called the In­ci­dent Re­sponse Group, an emer­gency com­mit­tee that will meet in the event of a na­tional cri­sis or dur­ing in­ci­dents else­where that have ma­jor im­pli­ca­tions for Canada.

Bill Blair, fed­eral min­is­ter of bor­der se­cu­rity and or­ga­nized crime re­duc­tion, has been tasked with lead­ing the charge on ir­reg­u­lar mi­gra­tion.

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