April 25, 2018 6:05 pm

PQ Leader Jean-Francois Lisee wants to build a fence near Quebec-New York border

Asylum seekers sort out their luggage at a processing centre after crossing the border into Canada from the U.S., August 21, 2017, near Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
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Parti Quebecois (PQ) Leader Jean-François Lisée said he wants a fence built near a Quebec-New York border crossing that is popular with asylum seekers.

Lisee said the fence should go up at Roxham Road in Hemmingford, near the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle crossing. He told reporters in Quebec City on Wednesday that Canada should rip up the safe third-party agreement and asylum seekers should be directed to legal border crossings.

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READ MORE: Plan to deal with surge in asylum seekers coming in ‘days and weeks’ ahead: Ottawa

When asked who would pay for the fence, Lisee joked, “the Mexicans.” He later said that the barrier he was proposing would not be a Trump-like wall. It could be just a cedar hedge.

“We cannot close Roxham Road unless and until [asylum seekers] have the ability to come through the regular postings. That’s what we’ve been asking for for a year. Amnesty International is [also] asking that,” Lisée said.

READ MORE: Opposition motion calls for action to stop flow of illegal border crossings into Canada

Quebec Immigration Minister David Heurtel said earlier this month the number of asylum seekers entering the province from the United States had tripled to 6,074 this year from about 2,000 during the same period in 2017.

Heurtel said the number is expected to increase significantly this summer. However, he clarified the PQ leader’s idea of a fence at the border as “simplistic” and “off-the-cuff.”

The federal government, since last Wednesday, announced steps in the right direction… There needs to be more work done, concrete solutions now, but going back to Mr. Lisee’s comments, it’s very simplistic, and you don’t solve complex problems by building walls,” Heurtel said.

*With files from The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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