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Money for immigration: “There is no favorite province,” assures Ottawa

Photo: Spencer Colby The Canadian Press Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez speaks to reporters before a Cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

The Canadian Press in Ottawa

Posted at 2:29 p.m. Updated at 7:11 p.m.

  • Canada

The federal government does not show favoritism, Ottawa responds to the Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, who did not hide his annoyance at seeing only money intended for immigration was “poured” on Ontario and Quebec “in defiance” of Western Canada.

“There is no favorite province for the federal government” that distributes funds in an “equitable” manner, assured the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, Tuesday upon her arrival at the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers , repeating the word from a journalist's question.

In the same corridor, Justin Trudeau's lieutenant for Quebec, Pablo Rodriguez, explained that the offer of $750 million to compensate the province for the costs of increasing the number of temporary residents aims to recognize that “Quebec has done more than that.”

“If you look at the numbers, it’s obvious,” continued Mr. Rodriguez. If other provinces do the same, we will look at that. »

Also called to speak out, the co-president of the liberal campaign and member of parliament for Hochelaga, Soraya Martinez-Ferrada, also called for recognition that Quebec is “ the province which has received the most asylum seekers anywhere in the country” and that it must be supported in this reception.

On Monday, Premier Eby expressed his “frustration” with the amounts paid to Quebec. It was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said, believing that his province should also get a share.

The British Columbia government figures show there were 475,778 non-permanent residents in the province as of January 1, an increase of about 84% from 2022.

Quebec Premier François Legault previously said the number of temporary residents in the province — including asylum seekers, students and workers — had “exploded” to 560,000, a number which, he says, has doubled in two years, putting a strain on social services.

Mr. Legault said he was disappointed by Ottawa's offer. He had requested $1 billion to cover costs associated with increasing the number of temporary residents.

Also read

  • David Eby says he is frustrated by the money intended for immigration obtained by Quebec “in contempt” of the West
  • Ottawa puts $750 million on the table to welcome asylum seekers

Minister Miller responds

British Columbia must step up its efforts and welcome more asylum seekers who come to Canada, federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller responded Tuesday to Mr. Eby's criticism of his province's funding.

“I think there may have been some confusion on the part of the Prime Minister about where this money was going. He suggested it could be for temporary residents. This is absolutely not the case,” said Mr. Miller.

The minister said the agreement with Quebec was intended to compensate the province for two years of high costs associated with the disproportionate number of asylum seekers.

Government statistics show that 65% of asylum seekers arrived in Quebec last year, compared to just under 2% in British Columbia.

“We need provinces like British Columbia to step up when it comes to welcome asylum seekers,” said Minister Miller, who assured that the province would have federal financial support in such a case.

Marc Miller said he was willing to discuss with Premier Eby the impact of growing immigration in B.C., but that the costs associated with that should not be confused with the costs of serving asylum seekers, who arrive without resources.

He added that most immigrants to the province fall under economic programs and contribute financially by paying taxes.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116