HALIFAX — The federal minister of immigration is objecting to language being used by Ontario’s new Tory government to describe people claiming refugee status.
Last week a spokesman for Premier Doug Ford issued a statement describing asylum seekers as “illegal border crossers,” saying the influx has resulted in a housing crisis in Toronto and “threats to services that Ontario families depend on.”
Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, told a news conference today in Halifax that he’s “very concerned” by the comments made by Ford and Lisa MacLeod, the provincial cabinet minister responsible for immigration.
Hussen, himself an immigrant from Somalia, says Canada has a legal obligation under national and international law to give a fair hearing to refugee claimants.
The new Ontario government has said it wants additional financial help from Ottawa in handling asylum seekers in Toronto.
However, Hussen was non-committal about whether additional funding was forthcoming, saying he’s “perplexed” by the request at a time when the province hasn’t committed to help Ottawa with a plan to redirect migrants to temporary shelters outside of Toronto.