Town of Emerson, Manitoba receives federal government compensation for local funds spent on asylum seekers

Federal government promises Emerson, Manitoba compensation funds following influx of asylum seekers
WATCH ABOVE: For the first time since the influx of asylum seekers have been crossing from the US in to Emerson, Manitoba, the Federal Government has come to visit the small border town and brought with it a promise of funds to help the community. Zahra Premji reports.

EMERSON, Man. — The Federal Government has promised Emerson, Manitoba monetary support following the recent influx of asylum seekers crossing through the small border town.

On Saturday morning, the federal government made its first official visit to Emerson since the recent influx of asylum seekers crossing through from the US in to Manitoba.

RELATED: Canada braces for spring surge of asylum seekers

The RCMP said as of Saturday 183 people had made the trek across the border in to Emerson.

Many of the 183 asylum seekers have been received by the local volunteer firefighters and community members. Town officials say the resources used during the influx in the last two months has put a strain on the community.

RELATED: Rejected refugee claimants in Canada not always sent back home

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The Federal Government responded to the concern Saturday.

“I’ve made a commitment to Reeve Janzen today that my department will be making a contribution to the local firefighters to help them defray some of their costs,” Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale, said.

Goodale said the Emerson volunteer fire department would be receiving $30,000 from the government to compensate for the depletion of funds in the town after thousands of dollars had been re-allocated to immediately help asylum seekers crossing in to Manitoba.

“We’ll be making sure that compensation is forwarded to the local firefighters so their normal budget isn’t depleted by these extraordinary responsibilities,” Goodale said.

However, when it came down to the question of what the plan of action is for a possible increase of asylum seekers making their way in to Manitoba, Minister Goodale said it was too soon to make any firm plans.

“At this moment it’s physically not possible to predict what that flow may be some weeks down the road,” Goodale said.

Town officials and the local community said the $30,000 promised by the federal government is a good first step. However the community said it hopes the government will continue to provide monetary support if the small border town sees more asylum seekers cross in to Manitoba as the weather warms up.

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