The Bloc demands all the Roxham Road contracts
Alain Therrien spoke for the Bloc Québécois in demanding all the contracts related to Roxham Road.
The Bloc Québécois demanded Tuesday that the Trudeau government reveal all the contracts related to Roxham Road after Ottawa had revealed the day before, after months of refusal, to have disbursed 28 million dollars for leases concluded with businesses of a Liberal donor, Pierre Guay.
During question period, the House leader of the Bloc, Alain Therrien, wondered if the contracts with Mr. Guay's companies, the ones known to the media, are only the tip of the iceberg.
“We know that there are others, contracts, especially for hotels, a summary Mr. Therrien. If the government has nothing to hide, why is it refusing to disclose all of the Roxham Road contracts?
— Alain Therrien, Bloc House Leader
Much like in a press scrum minutes earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not committed in his response to releasing all contracts.
He rather repeated what was said the day before at the House of Commons Ethics Committee: it was public servants who decided to enter into the contracts and that is the ;Border Services Agency contacted land owner.
That contract included the only land possible under the circumstances, and the Border Services Agency was already using it to intercept and process people crossing irregularly, Trudeau said.
“Leases were negotiated on a fair value basis to achieve a competitive price.
—Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
The $28 million figure is in a document sent Monday to members of the ethics committee minutes before it is scheduled to hear from witnesses in its investigation into road expenses. Roxham.
According to the Elections Canada database, Mr. Guay gave thousands of dollars in contributions to the Liberal Party of Canada, but also, to a lesser extent , to the Conservative Party of Canada when it was in power.
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Radio-Canada recently revealed that, according to its compilation, Ottawa paid more than half a billion in public funds to reimburse costs incurred by Quebec or to pay suppliers.
Conservatives and New Democrats also railed against contracts with Mr. Guay. The Conservative lieutenant for Quebec, Pierre Paul-Hus, tried to get the Prime Minister to admit that his MP for Châteauguay–Lacolle, Brenda Shanahan, met Pierre Guay on several occasions, the latter having participated in at least four fundraising cocktails of the elected official.
This would contradict, according to Mr. Paul-Hus, the testimony in committee according to which Mr. Guay never met elected officials Liberals to discuss these contracts, and could represent a conflict of interest situation.
During his testimony, Mr. Guay assured that he had never solicited or maintained a relationship with any politician whatsoever. He also claimed he has “nothing to hide” when questioned by committee members whether he was open to divulging more details about the leases that bind its companies to the government.
The deputy leader of the New Democratic Party, Alexandre Boulerice, for his part, was scandalized that the government had paid 28 million in secret rather than suspending the Safe Third Country Agreement to simplify the process for refugees.
“Liberals chose to funnel millions in public money to a Liberal donor. And that, without a call for tenders. Because for a liberal, you know, a boyfriend is still a boyfriend!
—Alexandre Boulerice, Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party
In response to questions from Messrs. Paul-Hus and Boulerice, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Helena Jaczek, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marie-France Lalonde, took turns tour read a statement similar to that of the Prime Minister.
Roxham Road, located in Montérégie, has been used by a crowd of potential asylum seekers since 2017. This passage from fortune is borrowed due to the Safe Third Country Agreement.
This agreement ensures that a potential refugee arriving at an official Canadian border crossing and having first set foot on American soil is turned back since he must pursue his asylum application in the first place of safety where he arrived.
Thus, people who still wish to seek asylum in Canada cross the Canada-US border through makeshift crossings, such as Roxham Road, in Monteregie. Once they are in Canada, their refugee claim can be processed.