Que­bec: Feds owe us $300M for refugees

Ottawa Sun - - NEWS - — The Cana­dian Press

MON­TREAL — Que­bec Premier Fran­cois Le­gault said he made progress dur­ing Fri­day’s First Min­is­ters meet­ing on his de­mand that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment pay $300 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion to cover the cost of refugees ar­riv­ing in the prov­ince.

Le­gault said the feds had pre­vi­ously of­fered to cover only the cost of lodg­ing the asy­lum seek­ers — about half of what Que­bec was seek­ing.

“This af­ter­noon they have moved for­ward a lit­tle more to say they are ready to look at other ex­penses be­sides lodg­ing,” Le­gault told re­porters at the end of the meet­ing.

“We will have dis­cus­sions with the bills be­tween min­is­ters and bu­reau­crats to get as close as pos­si­ble to $300 mil­lion. It is a lot of money.”

Since 2017, there has been an in­flux of asy­lum seek­ers en­ter­ing Que­bec across the U.S. border.

Le­gault said it takes more than 18 months for would-be refugees to find out if they can re­main in the coun­try.

In the mean­time, Que­bec pays for their hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and health-care costs, which have to­talled roughly $300 mil­lion over two years, Le­gault said.

He said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is re­spon­si­ble for the lengthy delays in the sys­tem.

“I ex­pect Mr. (Justin) Trudeau to com­pen­sate us,” he said be­fore meet­ing the prime minister and his fel­low premiers.

MARTIN OUEL­LET-DIOTTE/GETTY IM­AGES

Que­bec’s Fran­cois Le­gault at­tends the First Min­is­ters meet­ing in Mon­treal.

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