ontario news watch

Poilievre mum on Tory MP’s ‘illegal refugees’ comment, calls for Roxham Road closure

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is calling for the closure of the Roxham Road irregular border crossing but side-stepping questions about a Tory MP denying help to a family who used it to enter the country. 

Poilievre told reporters today he is in favour of legal immigration but can understand the desperation that leads migrants to cross into Canada through the unofficial entry point south of Montreal.

Thousands of asylum-seekers have entered the country between official ports of entry in recent years and then made refugee claims once in Canada. 

Those who come from the United States via official crossings can be turned away under Canada’s Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S., on the basis that claimants have access to fair asylum processes south of the border.

Radio-Canada reported last month that Quebec Conservative MP Richard Martel recently refused to help a family that was facing deportation after having entered Canada through Roxham Road in 2018, calling them “illegal refugees.”

Poilievre did not directly answer when asked about Martel’s comments today, but said the Liberal government should renegotiate the Canada-U.S. agreement “in order to close Roxham Road.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10,2023.

The Canadian Press

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