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.
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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.