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Trudeau rejects Quebec’s ask for total powers on immigration

Click to play video: 'Trudeau rejects Quebec’s request for total powers on immigration'
Trudeau rejects Quebec’s request for total powers on immigration
WATCH: Quebec will not be getting more power over immigration. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is saying 'no' to one of the Quebec Premier's key requests following a meeting in Montreal on Friday. Trudeau met with Premier François Legault to discuss funding for asylum seekers and health-care transfers. Global's Franca Mignacca reports. – Mar 15, 2024

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is refusing to give Quebec total control over immigration, as tensions between the province and Ottawa deepen over an influx of asylum seekers.

Trudeau met with Quebec Premier François Legault Friday morning in Montreal to discuss the issue.

Legault said in the national assembly that he would push the federal government to transfer all immigration powers to Quebec.

Trudeau was asked whether that’s something he would be open to. He responded in French with a clear “No.”

Click to play video: 'Quebec government demands $1B from Ottawa for asylum seekers'
Quebec government demands $1B from Ottawa for asylum seekers

The prime minister said Quebec already has more powers over immigration than any other province to protect the French language.

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Trudeau added it’s not a question of jurisdiction but finding solutions by working together.

“We have had a larger number of temporary immigrants in Quebec but also across the country that we are having to deal with,” Trudeau said at a news conference following his face-to-face with Legault.

Click to play video: 'Feds will work with Quebec to tackle increasing number of temporary immigrants: Trudeau'
Feds will work with Quebec to tackle increasing number of temporary immigrants: Trudeau

The Quebec premier held his own news conference shortly after and said he will keep pushing.

“I won’t stop asking for all the powers on immigration,” he told reporters. “Quebec is a nation. When you have 528,000 people coming to Quebec with 30 per cent or more not speaking French, many in Montreal, it has an impact, a clear impact in the percentage of francophones.”

Click to play video: 'Quebec premier warns Ottawa about reaching ‘breaking point’ with asylum seekers'
Quebec premier warns Ottawa about reaching ‘breaking point’ with asylum seekers

Last year Quebec took in 160,51 asylum seekers — more than half of all those who enter Canada.

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Quebec is asking Ottawa for $1 billion to deal with the increase, saying it’s putting a strain on housing and health care.

Trudeau says his government has already taken “strong measures” on immigration, including closing Roxham Road – the irregular border crossing point between New York state and Quebec – along with reinstating the visa requirement for Mexican nationals.

Quebec has asked for more control over the number of new arrivals for years, but the premier is facing renewed pressure from the opposition.

The leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, is urging Legault to hold a referendum on the issue.

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