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Quebec doesn’t seem serious about discussing asylum seeker costs: Ottawa

OTTAWA — Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller says he doesn’t think Quebec wants to have serious discussions about the costs and social consequences of the influx of asylum seekers.

Miller told reporters in Ottawa today that Quebec provincial politicians seem to prefer to negotiate in public, which he says isn’t the way “responsible governments” behave.

His comments come in reaction to Quebec’s demand last week that the federal government transfer $1 billion to the province to cover the past three years of costs related to settling would-be refugees.

Four provincial ministers held a news conference calling on Ottawa to stop the arrival of asylum seekers in Quebec, saying it receives 55 per cent of all would-be refugees in Canada.

Miller says the $1-billion figure the ministers “threw out there” at the news conference was double what the province had previously been seeking from the federal government.

In response, Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette said today that Miller is “completely rejecting reality.”

She says Quebec has been trying for months — in person, by phone and in writing — to have discussions with Ottawa on the issue.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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